Archive for August, 2010

Chiptunes on steroids

28 Aug

Just posting to share something that crossed my desk a week ago:

I’m not sure if I love it or hate it, but it’s cool to hear one of these songs in this morning… this is a band called Anamanaguchi, and according to Wikipedia, they use a modified SNES with standard rock instruments to make their music…

It’s pretty cool, check it out! 🙂

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Posted in Music


Conquest Post-Mortem

26 Aug

And another competition has gone by… Awesome fun this one…

Time for a quick postmortem of my entry, Conquest:

What Went Right

– Theme: My first impact with the theme was “I hate this one”… On retrospective, it is an awesome theme, really made me think out of the box
– Initial concept: although it took me 3 hours, I got an idea that really got me excited and thought it fit the theme
– Excitement throughout: I was excited with the game the whole time, instead of being excited for 2 or 3 hours and then losing momentum.
– Tracing: the idea to trace over the graphics made by Oryx for the Assemblee competition for the characters was great: it allowed me to save time and have something passable visually.
– Music: I was scared of leaving the music for the end, and with good reason… didn’t have much time to do it, and had to use WolframTones… Although my first tries didn’t yield anything decent, after a bit tweaking the parameters I got something that while it isn’t Mozart, it’s passable for 48 hour game music…
– Cutscenes: While not terribly interesting, I really love doing those small cutscenes, they add to the flavor and they’re fun to program (even though they took me 2 or 3 hours to get right)
– Using my LD framework instead of my engine: I was going to participate on the jam instead of the compo, but looking at the idea I had (and the fact I thought I would take 10 or 12 hours completing the game) made me go for the compo. My engine wouldn’t have given me any advantage over the framework anyway…

What went wrong

– Time managment: What I thought it was going to be a 10 hour development cycle for this kind of game turned into 28 hour… So my managment and estimation was appaling.
– Family visiting: Although I love having people over, having family visiting on the weekend took away some time I could have spend programming… thankfully my wife did most stuff by herself, leaving me with just entertaining the guests… while I wasn’t running towards my office to program a couple more lines (jeez, I sound like an addict… 🙂 )
– Bugs: Ran into some bugs after the deadline, which meant the game seems more buggy to everyone than it seems to me… :\

What went “meh”

– Thousands of ideas flowing through my mind while I programmed the game… This is a mixed blessing… I look at the game as it could be, while people will look at the game as it is… 🙂 Lots of ideas made me be excited about the game the whole time, but it also was source for some frustration, since I couldn’t put everything I was thinking off…

The game has circa 2000 lines of C++ code, and the framework about 17000 (most of it 3d related and stuff I’m not using though).

Tools used:

Code: Visual Studio 2005
APIs: DirectX 9 (Feb), FMod, Win32
Graphics: Photoshop CS4 (mostly traced from Oryx’s pack for the TIGSource Assemblee compo), 3d Studio Max 2010 (for title screen)
Sound: WolframTones (very awesome, only had 20 mins or so to play with it), Midi Converter Free (online free midi to mp3 converter)
Blogging: Zoundry Raven, Internet Explorer
Reading LD: Omea Reader
Listening music: Winamp

I’ll probably want to play around with this idea for a bit longer, add some of the ideas I’ve had during the development… Hopefully I’ll post the new version in the future, albeit I don’t know when, since I’m starting a new job next week… :\


And done!

23 Aug

It’s finally done… You can download it from the competition page, or from here.

Should work in most Windows machines, although I only tested it with Windows 7 (64-bit)… But all the code is pretty straightforward, and I’m using old libraries (FMod, for example)…

It might require DirectX 9.0 (Feb. Update), you can get it at Microsoft.

It may also require the Visual Studio redistributables, which you can the 2005 here or the 2008 here. I’ve done the game in VS 2005, but sometimes the 2005 redist don’t work for some reason, so that’s why there are two links…

Hope you like it, any comments are appreciated!

Tools used:

Code: Visual Studio 2005
APIs: DirectX 9 (Feb), FMod, Win32
Graphics: Photoshop CS4 (mostly traced from Oryx’s pack for the TIGSource Assemblee compo), 3d Studio Max 2010 (for title screen)
Sound: WolframTones (very awesome, only had 20 mins or so to play with it), Midi Converter Free (online free midi to mp3 converter)
Blogging: Zoundry Raven, Internet Explorer
Reading LD: Omea Reader
Listening music: Winamp

I have lots of ideas on how to make the game better, from gameplay logic (less random enemy selection, which would lead to more tactical gameplay) to additions to the gameplay mechanics (more spells, more direct control over the game itself, more unit types)…

Some of them I might add tomorrow at the Jam, if I feel like it (but I doubt it… Spent more time than I though on the competition… after all, I was just going to participate on the Jam!)…

Anyway, I’ll write a postmortem tomorrow (and look forward to reading yours, and playing your games and whatnot!)… At the time of this writing, already 142 Compo entries, and 3 for the Jam… Less than LD17, but more than LD16… And this number might swell afterwards…

So good job everyone, I had a terrific time, think that for the first time I did a game that doesn’t completely suck and looks acceptable…

Catch you all later!


Level design done…

23 Aug

Level design done… it needs tweaks and such, and I’m missing more classes, to be honest, since the game becomes more complex…

Better rules for choosing targets would also help, since the current system doesn’t allow for the player to really be tactical in the game (too many random factors)…

Still, the game is fun, and since it has infinite retries (and one savegame, so even if you quit you can resume where you dropped off), it let’s you try different approaches…

I’ll ask people to stick to it, since the end cutscene has a twist! 🙂 Yep, I’m a regular Shyamalan… “What a twist!”

Anyway, screenshot of level 6 in full swing:


Time to add sound and music to the game, still have almost 3 hours for that… and try this in Release mode (been playing this in Debug build… hope it doesn’t bug out in Release *cross fingers*)…

Time to fire up Sfxr (DrPetter is a god!)… 🙂


Initial cutscene…

22 Aug

Finished the initial cutscene and the one at the ending of the game…


Basically did the same as on my “Exploration” game, with different graphics and some more “bells and whistles”, but not much… This would be so much easier using scripting like Lua or something…

Anyway, it’s pretty cool (I think) and it sets the mood for the game… Now to design some levels and see if I’ll have spare time for sound and music…


– Level design (7 levels)
– Startup gems
– Sound
– Music


Main menu and instructions

22 Aug

Main menu and instructions are done…

Instructions are quite tricky to get right, since the game has quite “strange” mechanics… probably would be easier with a tutorial that would introduce the mechanics and units one by one… this way it might be a bit overwhelming, but no time for anything better…

The game has an interface issue, because it’s sometimes hard to understand exactly what’s going on, what unit is attacking which unit, etc, but that’s also due to my meagre drawing skills…

inst03.jpg inst00.jpg
inst01.jpg inst02.jpg

Anyway, still loads of stuff to do:

– End-of-game screen (when you overcome the 7 levels)
– 7 levels
– (something I just remembered) Initial gems inside the keep to help the player
– Sound effects
– Music

Be back in a while with some more stuff… the clock is ticking… less than 6 hours to go…


Back to work…

22 Aug

Family left, so back to work… hopefully my WoW guild won’t need me tonight and I’ll have 3 more hours to finish this for the compo…

Title screen is done, and it’s sweet! 🙂


Changed the rock graphics to trees, aswell, since it looks much better, to be honest…

Still some stuff to do:

– Main Menu
– Intro/Story cutscene
– Instructions
– Final success (7 levels overcome)
– 7 levels to design
– Sound effects
– Music

If I do all these, I consider the game to be done, and will probably just tweak it and get some more features for the jam…

Back to overdrive… 🙂


Gem system inplace…

22 Aug

Woke up, had breakfast (dang, forgot to take a photo) and got back to work… won’t have much time today to work on this (unfortunately, my mind is full of ideas for this game!), so I’ll have to make time count…

Working on main game logic (intro->main menu->level->level->game over->main menu, that sort of things)… Hope I have time to make a small cutscene like in my Exploration game… 🙂 That was really cool… if not, I’ll do text and static images, which work aswell… probably will do static images today and cutscene tomorrow for the jam…



Gems give mana, health or wall-strenght… going to draw the game over screen when the enemies grab the ring (there’s 7 rings, and none of them can be caught, those are the levels).

Then, to make the level time thing to allow the player to go to the next level, and main menu… after that, design the 7 levels (only have one so far), add some instructions and music/sound… Lots of work still ahead and about 6 hours to work on this total… 🙁


Calling it for the night…

21 Aug

Last hours have been most productive… I added 4 types of enemies (soldier, archer, dragon and wizard), each with their own special strenghts and weaknesses, and different types of attacks (melee, ranged, aoe)…

It was easy adding them in my data-driven system, which is totally awesome, at least that’s well design… 🙂


There are still balancing issues, although not many… still not a game, missing the power gems (to restore mana, health and “wall strenght”), game over and win conditions, more levels, title screen and instructions… Instructions are particularly scary, since the game is quite complicated already from a mechanics standpoint… and I didn’t even add more spells and RPG-like attributes like critical strikes and attack speed.
Some graphics need lots of work aswell, and it would be nice if the characters would face whoever
they’re attacking, but that will take much longer than I have, specially considering my drawing skills… 🙂

Tomorrow I own’t have much time to work on the game, since I have family visiting… going to try geting most of the work done in the morning and at night, specially late night (after 11pm or so until 3am, which is the compo’s finishing time in my timezone). Want to have a complete game with sound, music, title screen, instructions, game over and several levels… the rest of the stuff I’ve been pondering about (more spells, RPG-like damage system, etc), will be left for Monday (so it can participate on the Jam aswell).

Anyway, nice for about 10 hours of work… all data-driven and such… 🙂


GUI and core gameplay logic done…

21 Aug

Finished lots of stuff… The GUI was pretty easy, and it doesn’t look half bad (I’ve done worse in the past, eheheh):


Still need to add some information on what’s the blue bar and the other bar that will be shown later (showing the progress of the super spell that’s being cast). Also left space for other spells, if I have time to make them work (game logic system already supports it, just a matter of implementing each spell).

Also done the possession logic:


The possessed soldier (the blueish one) has just killed another soldier (hence the grave), by dealing 25 points of damage… Different unit types deal different damage to the others… this way I can have archer units dealing more damage to dragon units than soldier units.

Currently, the fight system is done through a “I hit you, you hit me” thing, although I might want to add some randomness to it (just because it’s cooler), and even critical hits (because they’re even cooler!).

The game also implements an agro table so that the enemies attack whoever is dealing them more damage (which will make them prioritize, hopefully).

Not sure on what to do next… probably I should finish the game, with just some more units types (trivial to add) and game over/next level/success conditions, so I can try to balance it. That would leave me with whatever time I can gather on Sunday for polish and the Monday for all the spells and abilities I’d like to add to this game (although it could only be used in the jam then)…

Anyway, haven’t had this much fun doing a game for a 48-hour compo for some time now… 🙂