Jun 14, 2016 - Mid Year Madness

So, it’s the middle of 2016 already.

The original plan was to start pushing out quick games in January, focus on something more substantial in February, start a bigger project in March to carry through to May, then start over again with some prototypes, pick some to develop, etc…
That didn’t work.

But that’s just life.

Funnily enough, we’ve actually been relatively active recently.
While the original idea of quick prototypes, further develop then polish one didn’t quite come to plan, we have released two quick prototypes in the past couple of months.
Sploosh! - http://arcadebadgers.itch.io/sploosh
Snake-A-Roid http://arcadebadgers.itch.io/snake-a-roid or http://gamejolt.com/games/snake-a-roid/153761 if you want to show off on the leaderboards

Sploosh! was done for the Low Rez Jam, and runs at 64x64 upscaled to 512x512, and is a little homage to Scuba Dive on the Spectrum. I quite enjoyed it, and though I managed to make a mess of the controls ( it wasn’t obvious where you were swimming ) I’d like to return to it - or the idea of it - to develop further.
I worked on this on and off through two weeks, doing all the art, sound, music and code. Just what I needed to break my codeblock!

Then we did Snake-A-Roid.
This was quite quickly pushed together in a little over two days and just worked off the bat.
Ironically, I thought it was too hard to begin with so slowed it down - where some of the feedback stated it was easier than they expected - ho hum!
That said, this one worked out really well, so have taken it to stage two - adding extra features, various platform support, and general rounding out to take it to store for selling.
I have it running on Android, there’s leaderboard support in for various services, 360 pad support on Windows, new power-up/downs, difficulty levels, and customisable controls.
So yea, Snake-A-Roid is coming.. probably add DX or something to it so that the original one can stay free and playable.
I reckon I should have it ready for the end of the month, barring any new madness that life brings.

After Snake-A-Roid… there’s a couple of projects to look into.. as while January didn’t quite work out as planned, I did throw together a bunch of little prototypes to test things throughout the months.
These include such odd things as:
Grubs - a sortof gameified Marble Solitaire meets Bejeweled type thing.
Moons of Subterrane - a remake of an old Ludum Dare entry I did.
Munch Munch Munch - A mobile specific game that I can only describe as Hungry Hungry Hippos meets Guitar Hero.
Blast Zone - a Defender-esque thing.
Invade - a reverse space invaders that didn’t quite work out, but did spawn an idea of a Tactics style varient.
PowerOUT - a remake of another old project I did.
Shot To Ribbons - meant for the 1bit jam, but didn’t finish it.. wrote a chunk of the outline for it though, and would probably return to it.
Smoosh! - an endless vertical climber/runner thing.
Metal Boa - Snake vs Robotron, and amusingly started before I did Snake-A-Roid - which is Snake vs Asteroids.

So one of them is likely to be next.

Will see how I feel at the end of the month once Snake-A-Roid is released.

Dec 27, 2015 - A look over 2015

Another difficult year gone by…

A year full of family passings and particularly nasty illnesses from all fronts meant no Badger work got done at all - and it’s looking very close to being shut down if I can’t turn fortunes around in the next month or so. The passing of my Mum had quite an effect on me, and have found it very difficult to concentrate on much beyond YoYo work. Hence why, for yet another year, this site is still not exactly completely functional and is missing images and files and all sorts. That said, I did manage to recover a number of source archives from backups, and immediately uploaded them to GitHub… which included the source for Plight of the Weedunks, SGZEngine and the aborted SGEngine. With another two family losses early in the year as well, however, my head just hasn’t been in the greatest of places.

As for illnesses… I got hospitalised with tonsilitis, had a second bout of vestibular neuronitis ( basically confirming that this will be a recurring pest I’ll have to live with, ) and have just finished a particularly nasty case of the flu - where the last one that was this bad had put me in hospital a few years ago. If I’m ill, I’m definitely ill! No minor ailments for me, sadly… Add to that and my daughter being finally diagnosed with “oral allergy syndrome” after about six months of wondering what on Earth was going on, and it’s certainly been an interesting year. It’s certainly fun to explain to a school why she can’t have fruit, soya or dairy ( her current triggers ) particularly when it’s all “Healthy Eating” initiatives. This knocked out the Summer holidays as a block of free time to do stuff in.

Also managed to rack up a bit more in the debt department due to playing the “what’s safe to eat” game.. but we’ll get that sorted.

Now then, 2016 is just round the corner and it’s going to be a bit of a bugger to start with. While the flu is more or less over with, I’ve still been left with a niggly cough that I can’t quite shift yet. And the Badgers are skint. There’s enough money scraped together to get it through another month and that’s it. As such, I have to get something released to try and get something in, or I will have no choice but to close it. This makes for a tricky situation as while I’d ordinarily do Badger work in my spare time I’m not quite able to do too much as, due to the flu, I was taken out most of December so have a lot of YoYo work to catch up on… So, I need some quick turn around games.. of which diving into the archives of design notes I have, there’s a couple that I can hopefully get done. Ideally, I’ll release a few “big” games next year - Tiny Critters ( finally! ) along with a new Germies! and perhaps a strategy game of some sort… be that Yargh! or derelict_ or something else.. there’s a few ideas kicking about at any rate. What I’d really like to do, is alternate between a couple of quick games, and a big one.. but that depends greatly upon what free time I can get. Tricky.

Oh well, life is life, let’s just get on with it.

Oct 19, 2015 - Plight of the Weedunks

So I’ve just stuck up the (almost) entire source of Plight of the Weedunks to Github: http://github.com/stuckie/plightoftheweedunks. It’s missing the amBX code, but you don’t need that anyway… and the DLLs we had for it have long since expired.

Why put it up now?

Firstly, I lost it.

I only just found it while pouring over some backup archives, pulling together lost bits of projects - of which I’ve started and abandoned a huge amount of. Also, it’s got some rather interesting bits and pieces in there… it binds Horde3D, ODE and Lua together.. the vast amount of gameplay logic is written in Lua, and from what I remember, we actually tick the engine over from Lua as well. It also has some quite horrendous coding practices, before I settled on anything remotely readable… but shh…

Secondly, it’s important.

As I said, I lost it… and that’s quite a big chunk of code to lose, and especially something that maybe not culturally important, but it’s certainly important in my own programming history. It’s also quite old now, and not entirely useful to a lot of people these days, so hopefully I haven’t ruffled too many feathers over at Dare to be Digital as technically they likely still own the rights to it ( though I do believe our team leader was attempting to get them a while back, and the rest of us had agreed - me on provision of being able to release the code - but not sure how that went… ) Either way, the art assets are missing - I never had a copy of the source archive. The ones here are compiled and built for the game, so will be pretty difficult to use or modify for other things.

Anyway, some choice bits of the code to look at.

The Converter was modified slightly to pull in some more information that we were spitting out of Maya ( I don’t have the Maya bits we wrote - that was in the Art repository, which I never grabbed… ) Most useful bit being in https://github.com/stuckie/plightoftheweedunks/blob/master/ConverterSource/Source/Collada%20Converter/converter.cpp around lines 1038 - 1351 .. where I start spitting out Lua files for lights, cameras and chunks of level code. This helped immensely as it let our artists and level designer set where everything was in Maya, and we just picked it up on our end and started writing logic around it. It did however have the huge caveat that if the level changed, so too did all the scripts.. and that caught us out a few times until we started chunking up the logic better.

Other fun things are that all the ODE collision information got passed out to Lua. So when something collided, Lua was triggered to see what to do with it. Vast majority of the time it would be nothing, but we were able to trigger sounds ( or amBX effects! ) and bounce things off one another and so on. I’m still surprised how well it worked. Again, all of ODE was bound out.. if you check the level loading scripts ( we’ll take Toothy as an example; https://github.com/stuckie/plightoftheweedunks/blob/master/source/data/scripts/levels/toothy/physics/static/toothy.physics.static.lua ) they’re all split into scripted, dynamic and static. We then just call ODE to bind the dimensions out properly… most of which got spat out by the converter.

We also effectively bound out all of Horde3D to Lua as well, so we were able to poke at the rendering pipeline from within Lua. For example, https://github.com/stuckie/plightoftheweedunks/blob/master/source/data/scripts/misc/engineSetup.lua actually sets up the resource paths for Horde3D, and I vaguely remember Lachlan doing some crazy shader stuff at some point through Lua as well, before we dropped the HDR pipeline completely.

It certainly has got me thinking about crazy projects to try with GameMaker…

I’ve been unearthing lots of old projects while digging around archives, so I’ll be trying to get them up on GitHub as well. It would be a shame to lose them entirely, as almost happened here!