Finally something new!
So those are some of my goals. After I actually get done I’ll plan to do a bit of a retrospective as I have for some other games and see how well I did. In the meantime, there are a few things I’ve already learned and some changes I’m going to make going forward.
Well, that’s probably enough talking (or rather writing) for now. SONR still needs lots of code and it’s not going to write itself. So let me know what you think of the trailer and the current look of SONR, and I’ll go write some awesome code.
P.S. All the footage in the video is current in-game video. The video looks okay, but the actual game looks way better. The video has a bunch of compression artifacts which the actual game does not (especially noticeable at larger sizes). I need to get some better video editting tools than what I currently have.
I wanted to do a post about the game I’m working on, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m hoping to make a video soon, but you’ll just have to wait a bit longer. Sorry about that.
In the meantime though, I have this post. You’re probably wondering what the heck “Keyboard Sith” means, aren’t you? Well, the story goes something like this: I’m a keyboard kind of a guy. I think using keyboard shortcuts makes me faster than always having to switch back and forth between the keyboard and mouse. It’s always fun to find a keyboard shortcut I can do in less than a second for something that to use the mouse would take a couple of seconds. When I came across a program named Keyboard Jedi, I knew it was something I had to try out. I actually really like it. Unfortunately, it seems to have some 32bit vs. 64bit problem and doesn’t want to run on my computer at work. There are some posts around about how to hack it to get it to work, but that seemed like too much work. And since the author of Keyboard Jedi doesn’t seem to have updated the application in a couple of years, I decided to create a replacement. And thus Keyboard Sith was born!
For those of you too lazy to click through to the Keyboard Jedi link, here’s the gist of it. The program locks the mouse cursor in its window, so you are forced to use the keyboard. You can turn the mouse capture on and off, just in case you really do have to use the mouse. But it provides a barrier larger than just reaching for your mouse.
Keyboard Sith is a little more limited than Keyboard Jedi in some ways. Keyboard Jedi has the option to capture the mouse only in Visual Studio or in all applications. Keyboard Sith always captures the mouse in all applications. Keyboard Jedi also shows you when you press special key combinations (basically, control or alt or shift plus anything else). That’s handy for presentations sometimes. Keyboard Sith doesn’t do that. But Keyboard Sith does have a nifty pop up notification when you disable the mouse capture, relating the Sith Code to the power of your keyboard. It also has an equally nifty notification icon that switches between a wussy blue light saber when the mouse capture is disabled and a powerful red light saber when the mouse capture is enabled. You can also disable the Sith Code notification via the notification icon (I’m assuming because you already memorized the Sith Code).
It’s not perfect, but it’s hopefully a handy little app that will help some people learn more keyboard shortcuts. And hopefully it will work on more computers than Keyboard Jedi. Embrace the dark side…
Download Keyboard Sith
P.S. The .NET Framework 2.0 or higher is required. But no installation is required. Just unzip the EXE file and double click it.
Since its release, Ninja Robot Winning Gameshow has enjoyed a small amount of public interest. I thought I’d share some of the places it has shown up (Google Alerts is my friend).
Last night I went to the quarterly Utah Indie Game Night, met some cool people, got reacquainted with a few others, saw some cool things other people had made, and showed a few things I had made,
including NRWG, which will hopefully help it gain a little more exposure.
It’s been an interesting experience “marketing” NRWG. It makes me really glad I work as a programmer and not as a marketer. Actually getting the word out and making people aware of what you’ve created sounds hard, but is actually way harder than it sounds. I think I’ll primarily stick to nice easy topics like collision detection, AI algorithms, multi-threaded locking issues and source control management, thank you very much.
So I have two questions for anyone who might be reading: 1) Lots of people have commented on the difficulty of the game. Has anyone besides me actually beaten the game? Was the time and effort I spent on closing credits and music wasted (not that I spent a ton of time, but some) because I’m the only one who’s seen them? Just curious. 2) I’ve previously mentioned the possibility of other people designing some levels. I never heard anything from anyone on that. I just thought I’d ask again to see if anyone new might be interested. The level designer isn’t hard to use and isn’t horribly, horribly buggy. Just a little buggy, honest! If you’re interested, let me know in the comments.
Can anyone else say, “About time!”? I’ve had this almost ready to release for quite some time. But I wanted to add some finishing touches to it. There are more finishing touches that I’d like to add, but at least now it’s to a point where I feel like I can let other people download it, play it, and rag on it.
Before I give my blurb about the game, here’s a gameplay video. If you’re a super anti-spoiler type person, it does show how to get past the first few levels. They’re not that great of levels though.
So the idea here is that you can switch which direction gravity pulls. I thought that seemed like a kind of robot-y, ninja-y sort of thing to be able to do. I guess you’d classify this as a puzzle platformer? I had a couple of aims in making this game. In no particular order:
I’m sure there were some other aims too, but those are the ones I could think of right now.
So what’s in the future for Ninja Robot Winning Gameshow? There are some improvements that I’d like to make at some point in the future. I don’t know that I’ll actually make any of them, much less all of them. But it’s a list, and we all like lists, right? When and how many I make will probably depend on how many people ask for them. So if you want them, ask for them.
Is that a big enough list of improvements for something that’s just barely being released? I hope so. Makes me feel depressed. << MORE >>
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've had a big distraction lately. I've included a picture of said distraction for reference. (You can see the picture if you click to view the whole post. I forgot my blog host is rubbish. I really need to make the time to switch to something better...)
His name is Sam. And last night he learned how get himself stuck under the couch. He'll be six months old at the end of this week. So if you're quick with your mental math you'll know I've done a couple of posts since he's been born, but not many. It's not that I haven't had time to post since he's been born, I just haven't had time to work on anything worth posting about. Isn't the first rule you read on all those "How to make a living blogging" blogs that you keep posting whether you have anything to post about or not? Oh, well. I never claimed to be a good blogger.
Anyway, I do have something to post about now. I'm actually working on two projects. The first one is rather ambitious (as in I hope I get done one day) and as such I don't really have much to show for it yet other than some design notes and a tiny bit of code that doesn't really work yet. In working on such a big project that takes so long to make any progress, I realized that I still needed a creative outlet. So I decided to work on a small game while I'm working on my larger one. About a week or so ago I woke up with an idea for a game. I have the basics working and made a little video for your viewing enjoyment.
I found some more coverage of the demake competition that mentions Griselda. This time it's from Jay is Games. Here's the link to the actual article.
The voting for the competition is over an Griselda tied for 22nd! I guess that's good, right? The winning entry got 6.5% of the votes and Griselda got 0.9%. You can check out all the results here.
So I was going through Google Reader the other day trying to get caught up on some posts and I saw a post from indiegames.com about an episode on bytejacker.com where they review some of the entries from the Bootleg Demake Competition. They do a top 10 and Fable of Griselda made the top 10! It actually came in at number 5!
I think a lot of the other entries (including those that aren't on this top 10 list) are more impressive than Fable of Griselda, but I'm glad that someone liked it enough to put it on a top 10 list.
You can watch the video here. Griselda is at around 3:00, but the whole video is pretty interesting.
So I've been working on my next little project a bit. I had actually found a competition that I wanted to enter it in. It's a Star Trek themed competition. So I worked on that for a while. I even got a nifty little Enterprise (the bad guys are still rectangles. I haven't gotten around to making them into Klingons yet). See. Here's a picture to prove it.
I still haven't renamed the form. How embarrassing!
Anyway, I was working on that, but not feeling terribly inspired by it. Mostly I just wanted to enter something in a competition. But then I found another competition (the forums are down right now. Hopefully they will be back up soon) over at tigsource.com which I felt more inspired about. It's a Bootleg Demake Competition. Basically you make an obvious rip off of a game, but for an earlier system than the one the original game was made on. There are a lot of people remaking 3D games into 2D games and a lot of porting from newer systems (Xbox 360, PS2 & PS3, etc.) to older systems (NES, SNES, etc.). I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to return to my ASCII roots. And I might not have another such opportunity again in the near future. Plus, this would give me a chance to make an ASCII game that doesn't need to be turned into a test (that's where most of my other ASCII games came from). The competition ends at the end of August, but I think I should have enough time. That's one good thing about single character ASCII art, it doesn't take too long. Donkey Kong ASCII only took me about a day to get most of it done. Then another half a day or so to fix a few bugs and make a few more levels. I like that about the whole indie game scene. It shows that you don't have to have hundreds of people and years of development and millions (or hundreds of millions) of dollars to make a great game (not that Donkey Kong ASCII is that great, but some other indie games are).
So I have an idea of what I want to do for this competition, but I don't have much to show for it yet. I'll post some screen shots as soon as I have something to show.
I've had some thoughts for blog posts the past few days, but I haven't felt like actually posting anything. I thought about it for a bit and decided that the reason I didn't feel like posting anything was because of the clunky interface that came with my blog hosting. You know, it's a sad state of affairs when technology convinces you that you shouldn't use it. Anyway, after thinking about that I decided that I should try out some third party blogging apps (which my blog hosting account thankfully supports). I haven't had a chance to try any out yet though until now. See, there are some advantages to waking up at 2am and not being able to go back to sleep.
I recently got a new computer, which has greatly increased the opportunities I have to write code. So we are now a three laptop family. Does the fact that we have three laptops in a house with only two people tell you anything about my profession? My new laptop is a Dell M1330. When I was working on my thesis our lab had Dell laptops and at that time I swore I'd never ever buy a Dell computer. They were chucky, slow and didn't have very good build quality. But Dell has come a long ways in the last few years. I'm pretty happy with my new lappy so far. It's a ~4 lb, 13" incher which makes it nice to carry around but still big enough not to negatively impact productivity. I was thinking about getting an HP Mininote for the portability, but I think my M1330 works much better as a coding machine. Plus, since it was a "scratch and dent" (I haven't found any scratches or dents yet) it was actually cheaper than the Mininote. Wins for everybody!
Ok. So now on to the important stuff, games. After getting my new lappy all set up and installing Visual Studio (sadly I currently have to have VS 2008 and VS 2005 installed because I've been playing with XNA and it's only officially supported on 2005. Come on MS, get with the program!) and after taking a little break from Mario TD, it was time to start coding some more. I worked on a couple non-game related projects (shocking, I know), but the other day I decided it was time to start working on a new game. I wanted something a little less intense than Mario TD turned out to be. I've been meaning to start doing more development in Silverlight and/or XNA. But for this project I decided to fall back to my old standby of GDI+. For this project I just wanted something fun to play around with. What I really wanted was something I could work on for this procedural content generation (PCG) contest over at tigsource.com but I didn't get working on things fast enough to have anything to submit. (Plus I only found out about the contest after it had already started.) I've always been interested in PCG and have been itching to get some hands on play time. Here's a picture of what I've got so far
I haven't even renamed the form yet. How embarrassing! But those are some pretty mean looking rectangles, aren't they? And those brave souls aboard the USS Triangle (Simpsons reference) are fighting quite valiantly. Unfortunately, I don't really have much PCG in there yet. I guess technically the graphics are all generated, but the only mildly noteworthy part is the generated particles behind the bullets. The rest is pretty boring stuff. But the framework is coming into place. I want to add in dynamically and randomly generated enemies and weapons and of course cooler graphics. I kind of like the minimalistic thing, but it definitely needs some spicing up. Definitely some nice particle systems. Because, you know, particles are cool. Everybody likes particles.
So hopefully my little game (which doesn't even have a name yet) will turn into something worth playing at some point in the not too distant future. But let's be honest here. It would be hard to be worse than ASCII Space Invaders, right? Hopefully it'll also be a good chance for me to get to play with and learn more about PCG too. Anyway, I'll keep you posted with updates on how it's progressing.
P.S. I find it very ironic that this blogging software doesn't include the word "blogging" in its spell check dictionary.