Archive for November, 2011

Work is not allowing me to work!

30 Nov

I’ve been quite busy lately with work, which means that I haven’t had time for any new developments (neither in my editor, nor with the announcement thingy)…

Since I know you guys want some stuff to look at, here’s a couple of things…

First up, an indy game called Gunpoint that seems quite cool… the style of the presentation is also very cool, and the animations look sweet:


The other one is a blog post about some conjecture and rumor, but that seems pretty accurate and for DX-heads like me, pretty scary. Click here to read!

Hopefully I’ll have time on Friday to get things up and running as usual again!


Bah, stupid capture applications…

25 Nov

I did a nifty 10 minute video walking people through the material system of my editor, but the encoding application decided to blow up and corrupt the files… Disappointed smile

Need to find a better way to do this kind of video captures… for fullscreen applications, I have Fraps, which works like a charm, but for “desktop” applications, I don’t have anything good… Any suggestions?

Anyway, this will be the post before the weekend… it still wasn’t this week that we did the “big announcement”, but we’ll do it next week for sure!

Have a nice weekend everyone!


Still hectic…

23 Nov

Title says it all…

I’ve been busy with a series of things, ranging from work to game development. In the game dev front specifically, we’ve been getting ready for an announcement which we hope will signify a kickoff of a new stage in our lives… Stay tuned!

Here’s a very cool video to keep you company until the next blog post:

Address Is Approximate from The Theory on Vimeo.

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17 Nov

Things have been a bit hectic lately…

On the work front, almost two months of work got sent down the drain because of a strategy change in the company and we have to refocus development on other areas, which implies loads of documents, strategy meetings and architectural discussions…

On the game development front, we’re getting ready for a big step (which implies a big announcement soon), and that requires us to work on marketing (getting the word out) and production (outlining the new strategies), all of these in the short time we have available for this kind of work (after all, we do work on this on our after-hours).

Just so you haven’t come here in vain, here’s a trailer of a game that looks very good, developed by the guys behind the Unigine engine and the Heaven DX11 benchmark.

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Some links…

14 Nov

Hi all!

Been busy with work and with some upgrades on my SurgeEd (editable materials almost done!), so not much time to write up stuff on the blog…

Just decided to leave you with some videos of interesting stuff I’ve found…

First up, the trailer for Ep0ch… This iOS game is looking very sweet:

Second up, a gameplay of the Alpha of Gratuitous Tank Battles, which looks very good:


Positech Games has an interesting development blog, so check it out and keep updated with news on this great game.

Finally, what do you get if you combine “magic”, augmented reality and a talented presenter? Something like this:


Very good stuff indeed…


Anyway, I have a big announcement (oh well, it’s an announcement, don’t know about big) in the next few days, so stay tuned!



09 Nov

Although I got Uncharted 3 to play, I managed to get some time to add the live-link feature into SurgeEd!

Now, each time I change a shader file (or any of its dependencies), the editor reflects that when the window regain focus. Hopefully I’ll be able to iterate shaders faster, and do some more effect shaders as well.

I still need to add the material edit options, but I’m struggling a bit with it, from a conceptual standpoint.

We are editing objects on the editor, and those objects have (simplifying) a position, orientation and mesh. And the mesh has materials, shared by all the instances of that mesh… We can think of an object as an instance of a mesh. Now, I have to add materials to the object itself, and these materials have to be children of the mesh (with names generated from the object name). Then, every time the mesh of an object changes, the materials have to be deleted and re-added from the mesh materials. There are also other problems associated with the drag/drop/copy/undo/redo systems.

After I solve this, it comes the time for the properties of the material itself, which has a dynamic component, based on the shader selected for the material.

None of this will be simple, but it sounds like a neat system! Open-mouthed smile With both the live-link and the material editing, I’ll be able to work on shaders in a more efficient way!

On another note, found a cool game to spend some time:


It’s very cool there’s still new concepts for platformers, and although I’ve seen this concept before in other games, this one uses it very well associated with the ninja concept!


Something fonty…

07 Nov


Didn’t have much time lately to do any real work on my games, but managed to finally fix the text system on “Something Fishy”. It got screwed up some point in the near past, with the upgrade to the font system (that allowed for variable spacing between characters, etc).

I managed to patch it up, which made me have to rebuild the main font for the game, and in. the process I found a bunch of small bugs in Something Fishy that I took the opportunity to solve.

So, finally I have a working build of Something Fishy for the PC (although the “Kids” and “Easy” difficulty levels need some tweaking).

Now I can think seriously on porting the game for tablets and (hopefully) for Linux and Mac. This will make me have to solve some small issues, namely the sound engine, vibration and interface issues.

The sound engine is just a straight implementation issue. The current port of my sound system on Marmalade only supports fixed bitrate RAW sounds. To really be able to port this game, I’ll need to add at least a WAV loader (and maybe an MP3/Ogg streaming system).

The interface is much more complicated. Currently, Something Fishy works with the mouse controlling the hook in which a worm of a specific color is caught


This obviously doesn’t work on an iPad, since we don’t have a cursor… So, we currently have a “point and click” mechanic, and that has to be translated into a working “tap” mechanic, which changed the game overall (not dramatically, I think).

My current idea is to replace the fishing pole for an “attractor ray gun”. The player taps the screen in a specific position and a beam will grab the fish at the target position. The color of the sparks in the gun’s muzzle indicates the necessary color. Players have to grab the fish in succession (from smallest to largest), and the first two sizes serve to power the gun, so it can grab the larger one, which Ernest actually uses as food.

This will require some new art (and my artist is still on leave), some new testing (difficulty levels will need to be adjusted), so it might be a good idea to start porting to Mac/Linux first (in which we can use the mouse).

Work is not something that’s actually missing in my small hobbies, so I’ll probably do a detour I’ve been planning for sometime, converting the shader system on Spellbook to use the new XML format, and add a live-link option (changing a shader on the file makes the change visible on the game instantly).


Batman: Arkham City

02 Nov


Spent two days finishing this awesome game…

Like its predecessor, “Batman: Arkham City” is a 3rd person action adventure game, with some (easy) puzzles. The game follows in the wake of the events of “Batman: Arkham Asylum”, but does everything that one did right, and some more stuff…

The game has a nice story (although I think it becomes a bit contrived closer to the end), good boss fights, amazing visuals and animation (specially the animation) and small touches that bring a smile to my face.

The most important difference between this one and the last is the fact that the player is no longer confined to small areas… In Arkham City, you can navigate a city-sized area at will, finding side quests and collectables in large quantities. You can play at your own pace, spreading your attention between the side quests and the main storyline, although at the end you can continue playing after the main story has finished, to get those extra collectibles, get some more tidbits of Gotham history or just finishing the side-quests.

Side-quests are very interesting, giving some depth to some lesser known villains in the Batman lore, like Zsasz or Deadshot. It’s nice investigating things and looking around, although I think the game could have used some more of these (and less of the Riddler things).

Animation is the definite highlight of the game, in my opinion, with the flow-form combat system (already present in the previous title) just polished up and with more options… Combat feels very visceral and never feels “too easy”… You can just have defeated Bane or some other big boss, and get your ass kicked by 4 or 5 roaming guys in the streets, if you don’t pay attention and drop your guard, which makes everything feel more Batman-y… After all, he doesn’t have any super-powers, he just has his iron will, right?

All the expected gadgets are present, along with some new (and mainly pointless ones)… The RPG-kind of system where you upgrade your skills and gear is silly (in my opinion, of course), with no real options opening up… Most of the combos are hard enough to do without needing to “level up” to get them… seems silly and out of place in an action based game like this one, and I wish developers stopped using this gimmick to give the player a sense of progress…

The environment feel very Batman, with the dark and scummy side of Gotham taking the lead in the visual presentation… The city feels alive and large, but not boring.

Special mention to the fact that, as the night progresses, Batman’s suit becomes more damaged… it’s like the beatings he’s taking, etc, are really taking its toll, which is awesome… “Arkham Asylum” already had this features, and it really helps sell the concept…

“Batman: Arkham City” is must have in any game collection, in my opinion… it’s probably the best super-hero game ever done, and it has enough to keep most players busy for some days. Rocksteady have really excelled, taking the good parts of “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and just polishing them up until they’re even better, without adding excessive fluff! 10/10

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