I’ve got most of the essentials figured out with Fight Back now, so I’m finally getting to move whole new systems across. Stuff like ship physics, weapons and AI. This is my current sandbox:
The white ship’s a player ship, the black ship’s an AI. The pink squares, well, they’ll become bullets in good time. About when I sort the background out, in fact. 😀 As for why they’re pink – as a general principle when you’re doing something placeholder, the more obviously wrong it looks, the better! Hot pink usually serves that purpose perfectly, though maybe pink bullets in a shmup aren’t that strange?
Yup. Here’s my game right now:
All this under-the-hood stuff is hard work. Especially given I don’t really understand a few advanced HaXe features I want to use fully enough yet, like type parameters. Progress is slow but steady! So right now, all I have is Blue Square.
Of course all the old game logic and rendering is still in there, it’s just switched off. Right now I’m effectively building a new game engine inside my game. Everything should hook up OK once it’s done, but plugging it all in now would just get in the way.
I’ve got my memory management (such as it is) and component-based entity system set up now. The next major job is figuring out an event system for keyboard input and such. Hopefully I’ll be able to get on with that next week, though I have a few odd jobs that’ll intrude on the time.
Am I spending too much effort on tech that I might never end up needing? Probably! But it’s interesting and it’s good practice. More updates next week as things start to get pretty again 🙂
I clearly don’t do enough of this low-level blank canvas stuff. It’s taking a bit longer than expected to get going, mostly because I can’t seem to get into a groove. Every few minutes I hit some weird new obstacle and have to go off reading about advanced HaXe features or start sketching class diagrams – and then I get bored and browse the INTERNET. That’s not helpful. 😀
I may have to do something drastic like get a laptop for Fun Times and keep my PC for Work Times. I’m really not very good at this “focusing on work” stuff, especially when I tend to keep browsers open and so on.
But anyway! Right now all I care about is just getting something on screen using the new entity system, advance loop and decoupled renderer. Porting all the game logic and everything over to the new setup is going to be a big job, but I can worry about that after I get something working. Onward!
I’ve released Vigilance, I’ve been sick all weekend, I’ve been repainting a subframe (more on that later)… it’s been pretty hectic!
Well.. mostly, I’ve been ill. But while I was ill Vigilance went up on Newgrounds, got reviewed on JIG (“a side-scrolling beat-em-up fighter with an artsy, ironical soul, where you kick unconscious people on the ground… to save them“) and is basically taking over the Internet. Top stuff.
So… work this week! It’s about half Fight Back and half… car maintenance.
I got interviewed for one! Against All Expectations – Episode 9. Leo (@limbclock) asks me a bunch about my background, Beacon and Vigilance, what the plan is with Fight Back, Mac stuff, HaXe stuff, Finland stuff… taking in things like the unfortunate name conflict with Chevy Ray’s Beacon (spoiler: totally my fault!) and how Vigilance was partly inspired by an RPG Maker game.
Hell, I’m not going to go on about the Sam HaXe work I’m doing right now. There’s plenty about it in the podcast. 😀
Some interesting stuff kicked off over the weekend. Ars Technica put up this post about contract clauses from game development studios which specify that anything employees create, even in their own time, is the property of the company. (My personal opinion: it’s taking the piss!) I sent this on to Jas Purewal (@gamerlaw) who, being super awesome, wrote up a whole article addressing the legal situation, sharing what developers think on the topic, and giving sensible real-world advice on how to deal with these issues. If you do any kind of software work yourself then give it a read, though I guess it’s written for a UK audience so the legal stuff might not be universal.
Right… back to implementing the SWF spec!
I’ve spent two days adapting Fight Back for higher res and I still haven’t touched any of the code! I’ve just been mocking up new gameplay and menu screens in GIMP, trying to get a handle on how the game will look.
Menu wise, I’ve decided to break things up a lot and go for a clean, simple layout that’s a bit like Rez:
I’ll probably put some soft-focus stuff on the right, like ship schematics or something.
In-game – ignore the actual detail in the background, it’s a quickly filtered snap from Google Maps just as a placeholder 😀 The ships are higher resolution but the same size on screen, and I’ve put in the new dual energy bars instead of the old heat bar:
If I end up targeting Flash Player 11 or download, I may end up doing 3D backgrounds for this.
The next job on this project is to go into the code to decouple the rendering from the game logic. This is going to be messy, but when it’s done I’ll be able to drop in all these new assets no trouble – and probably still support the old resolution, if I feel like it!
It’ll be interesting seeing how Flash copes with doing about 8 times as much work. The higher resolution means there are six times as many pixels to draw each frame, and that shot above has one graphics layer more than the original – for vignetting. I think I’ll probably end up targeting Flash Player 11 just because it’ll hardly run on low end PCs otherwise 😀
Right! I think I’ve got a plan. I am going to push on with Fight Back for now, but I’m not committing to making it a big thing just yet. Right now I’m going to focus on making it the best damn Flash game it can possibly be. I’ll keep my options open. In a few months from now, I can make the decision: either start work towards a big, shiny HD version for cash money, or ship it for Flash and move on. There’ll always be more projects to take up!
Not much else to report. At the moment I’m balancing some contract work with sorting out the portal versions of Vigilance. It’s a fair bit of work! I’m going all out with the various portals’ high score tables and so on. Who knows, right? I have to test the waters first to see if it’s worth doing next time…
I’ve also finally got Vigilance under 10MB, which is well overdue. Major lesson learned from all this: Flash games have to be small! It’s hard being a Flash developer and an audiophile 🙂
Well, work on Vigilance is completed. I’ve spent this week on a contract project that leapt out at me from nowhere, which should be good money. Some time next week, though, I need to move on to other things…
Here’s an old shot of the main thing I’m considering.
Yup. FIGHT BACK is back on the radar, and I’m plotting a course to take it from “cool prototype” up to “finished product”.
Homing attacks are proceeding acceptably. Here is the first ship from Sector 2 in action:
That’s the new attack helicopter. Its secondary attack is deploying those homing missiles. The missiles can be shot down, but they’re fast! It’s perhaps easier just to dodge them until they run out of fuel and tumble off screen.
It’s a neat weapon. I am looking forward to making some kind of boss which periodically unleashes a vast missile Armageddon.
Spent Wednesday hanging out with Hanzonaut, talking concepts, getting drunk, playing Test Drive Unlimited 2. Good times. So this update’s a day late and a bit light.
Random good news – Vigilance won Bytejacker’s Free Indie Rapid Fire this week! It was a shootout between three Ludum Dare games and my game was selected and took it home with 65% of the votes. Pretty awesome! More incentive to spend next week polishing this game up and find it a permanent home on the internet.
Back to FIGHT BACK! I haven’t implemented anything for the new stages yet but I’ve spent the time brainstorming and I have pretty solid concepts in mind now. Sector 2 will be about homing attacks, suicide ships, and giant frickin’ lasers. Sector 3 will be about EPIC THINGS IN SPACE, like asteroid fields, warpgates, floating weapons platforms with turrets on, and battleships which span multiple waves. Sector 4 will be about… well, I’m not sure yet, but I want to work in ships that arrive on screen in a chrysalis that takes 5-10 seconds to ‘hatch’. I might work in semi-organic ships at some point. The concept for sector 4 is just to mash everything so far together with a few new boss ships. That might not be enough… but we’ll see.
Pickup-wise, I’m planning to add a homing missiles pickup in sector 2 and an aimable turret in sector 3 which you’ll be able to fire around at random angles. I think that ought to be a decent mix.