Posted in average, busy, gaming and technology, happyness, journal, life, updates

A Busy Couple of Weeks


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Unfortunately, I did not complete my 1 week challenge to make a game, though I still believe it is within my abilities to do so. It was more so the timing I chose, which turned out to be pretty bad, something that the post title clearly suggests.
There is a lot that has happened in the last 2 weeks. I’ll go ahead and rewind back to week 1, which was the week following my last post, and when I was originally supposed to have completed the game creation challenge. I actually managed to squeeze in 3 or 4 days of work on the game that week, though I was majorly hindered by the need to purchase sound affects from a source I’d never used, and thus didn’t trust yet. Furthermore, this mistrust was enhanced when my friend spent $85 on their sound affects, and didn’t receive his sounds for several days. As a result, I didn’t get the necessary sounds until Thursday of that week, so I decided to give myself an extra few days to work on it, and thus decided to delay the blog post a few days as well.
Well guess what? After getting a few more consecutive days of work done on the game challenge, I found out I had a summer reading assignment to complete for school, and that my family vacation to Maine would indeed be happening, — on Friday! of that week. And while I only considered the former to be a bad thing, both meant that coding a game would be quite hard, if not impossible for a little bit.
That said, vacation was great. There’s not too much to say about it, except for that it was relaxing, I didn’t have to put up with 110 degree Texas heat, and I did not work on my summer reading assignment or coding games or anything that required the use of my intelligence. But even though I got home on Wednesday of last week, I had a camping trip with my church youth group in Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday, then spent all of Sunday at church.
Today has been a day of rest for me. I didn’t really do anything productive, as I’ve basically been non stop the past several days. But for those wondering about the status of the game challenge, I’ve decided not to finish it, because honestly my timing was bad, it was meant to be only a week thing, and once I get back to coding I really need to start porting my main projects over to Python. That will have to wait a bit though, so that I can get this school reading assignment done before it’s too late. And believe me, I want to code games this week, but I’ve already had 2 dreams that involved me walking in on the first day of school and realizing that I didn’t complete the summer reading assignment because it totally slipped my mind, and that I’d be starting off the school year by failing English. I’d much rather leave that in my dreams.

Still, in the free time I did have during that time, I managed to create a little recording, that I would like to share with followers of this blog. I hardly ever post audio on the blog itself, so you know this is going to be good.
I had one of the text-to-speech voices from my computer commentate a recording I made of myself playing Red Spot, an audio first person shooter. This voice is named Microsoft Sam, and has been used to create funny skits and recordings all over YouTube. Anyway, though I didn’t think it would, this recording received quite a bit of approval from those I showed it to. It’s about 10 minutes long, and is bound to make you chuckle at some point.

In case the comments seemed untimely or out of place at certain points, this was basically my process for creating this recording, literally:
1. I recorded a segment of myself playing and owning on Red Spot.
2. I played it back, paying attention to key events in the game.
3. Once I came upon a turning point, major event, or just felt like Sam should say something, I paused the playback, recorded a piece of Sam’s speech, and inserted it into the recording. This was kind of hard because I had to focus on timing.
4. I listened to it, made sure there were no errors, and saved it.
I should note that none of Sam’s speech was scripted. These were all responses I thought appropriate to the occasion.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.
P.S. that file received quite a bit of positive reaction, and I hope to create more. But like Sam’s speech in that recording, the decision will likely be made two seconds before its execution, so don’t count on counting on or not counting on it.

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Posted in average, busy, gaming and technology, happyness, information, journal, life, programming, projects, updates

Return to Normalcy


Hey guys,
Steve here.

I really need to stop doing this. Over the last 50 days or however long it has been, this blog acquired 10 new followers. I’m guessing they followed me in hopes that they’d see future posts from me, which I have not done a good job of producing.

I remember a time when I’d blog every 4 to 10 days, because I didn’t try to stick to a certain topic. Recently, though, I’ve found myself unintentionally gearing towards one subject, game development. While I enjoy game development, quite fervently might I add, it was not my intention for this blog to become solely based on that. This does not
mean the end of my technical rants and detailed game idea postings; those will still occur, but it’s time
this blog return to the way it was before, when I didn’t attempt to bind myself to one particular
subject.

Because it’s been so long since my last post, I have a lot to say, but I’ll try to separate it into
multiple posts so I’m not talking about five different things in one. But as a general, perhaps five word
summary, the last month and 1/whatever was good… well… great.

My seventeenth birthday has already passed. Unfortunately, due to my attempt at binding myself
to one blogging subject, I didn’t post anything then; and when I don’t post something on such a grand
holiday, you know something’s not right. That said, it was one of the greatest birthdays I’ve had. I
didn’t have a party, but I will say this. The people I spent it with made it better for me than any party
idea I could’ve come up with myself, and to be honest I didn’t want one.

Aside from that, there hasn’t been much going on worth mentioning. This Friday, though, I am
traveling out of state for a goal ball tournament for the first time, something I’m both excited and
nervous about. I am not traveling with a specific team; I’m not sure whether or not I’ve been assigned
one. But here in Texas, our goal ball practices are small, so we don’t have a fully developed team of
men. I guess this one is going to be quite an adventure though.

In other news, I’ve been alternating in between my 3 projects. I actually did pull out Matt the Terrorist’s source code again, making some significant changes which I’ll discuss in a later post. I’ve also been working on Breakout, and at the moment I’m attempting to integrate a bonus level which requires the user to control multiple balls at once. I’ll let you all know how that turns out in the next post as well. But for now, I’m wrapping it up. I’ll be back after
the tournament.

Thanks for reading,
Type you later,
Steve.

Posted in average, busy, gaming and technology, happyness, information, journal, life, programming, projects, updates

Rewrites and an Audio Demo


Hey guys,
Steve here.

There I go again, with the whole not blogging for over a month thing. The problem is, I have been wanting to blog for at least the last week and a half… but then again it might be better that I waited this long to because some important things have happened recently that I would prefer to have gone in this post.

As I’m sure you could tell by the steady decline of enthusiasm I displayed towards S Quad Racing, and the increasing lack of work being done on it, I was definitely becoming unhappy with it. Since I’d started working on it so early, I didn’t know much about the language I started coding it in, causing me to do numerous things the wrong way, something I wouldn’t find out until the game really started taking off. By November, when I was trying to really ramp up the features, I realized that my code was pretty much just patched together, close-ended, buggy, and virtually unusable.

So, the last week of Christmas break, I finally decided to rewrite the entire game. There were still parts I copied from the old version, such as ambiance, playlist, checkpoint, and obstacle support, but everything else was completely scrapped.

After just a week of coding, I had a fully functional game. And when I gave it to my testing team, the bugs they found were only minor, easy to fix ones that usually resulted from forgotten or wrongly written lines of code. I’ve spent the last week fixing those, leaving only some minor bugs I just found out today. But thankfully, those that are occurring now are not the irreparable ones found in the old version, as I am more able to fix them now that I have a workable code base.

In other news, S Quad Racing is not the only project receiving a rewrite. Matt the Terrorist’s engine is receiving a rewrite as well, going from a 2d side scrolling game to 3d. The code base for this was not mangled like the old S Quad Racing, however it didn’t really have much in the way of flexibility, I.E. Implementing 3d support into it would have been next to impossible due to the y coordinate being used for up and down movement among other things.

Plus, since this game is not completely user friendly due to the keyboard layout, –we have keys for movement for forward, backward, left, right, up, and down, there are two keys (one for the left arm and one for the right), plus whatever keys will need to be added in future, I thought to add a keyboard configuration option. The way the keys will work in this new version are w a s and d for directional movement, r and f for up and down, (climbing ladders and controlling your jet pack), left and right shift being held down for the respective arms, enter to throw items, i to deposit them into inventory, and space to place. However, due to the complaints that will likely come about due to this rather odd key configuration, I’m working on a way for all aforementioned keys to be customized.

Aside from that, I’m really interested to see how three dimensional building will turn out in an audio only game. I don’t suspect it will be different from other audio games in terms of navigation, but we’ll just have to see, since the player will actually be constructing 3d structures without being able to feel or have them described to them.

That concludes tonight’s post, mostly anyway. Since I promised audio demos, I’ll provide this one for S Quad Racing since the Matt the Terrorist engine test is not in much of a playable state at the moment. Enjoy.

Play

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Posted in average, busy, gaming and technology, happyness, journal, life, programming, projects, updates

Matt the Terrorist Game Engine: Introducing New and Interesting Game Mechanics


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Twelve days ago, I told you all that the first step of Matt the Terrorist, the adventure game, had been completed. It was just a game with the ability to walk, nothing more, really. But apparently, a lot can happen in twelve days, and the following list should clearly point out my reasoning for proclaiming the preceding statement.
Because I got pumped at having started on this game that had been nothing but ideas for months, and was curious as to whether or not coding some of these radical game mechanics I’d been dreaming up could actually be done, I pretty much got carried away. The following is a list of what I managed to achieve, in about 910 lines, and probably 6 or 7 hours of accumulated coding time.
-Platform like structures, building material, and walls, all of which have length and thickness properties.
-leveling. In the current game I’m building with the engine, Matt the Terrorist: Engine Test, levels don’t mean much, as this game has no real objective, it’s just a test of the game engine after all. Still, levels affect things, as you will see below.
-Items that can spawn or be spawned on the map. These could be building materials, stat upgrades, money, etc. The stat upgrades, such as money, increase as you level up.
-A shop. Only two items in there so far, but again there’s not really too much to work with in terms of objects. Prices of all the items increase as your level does.
-Some… uh… I wouldn’t really call them physics, but items can break if dropped too hard, players and items can fall, and walls can actually be kicked in, (that excludes the edges of the map).
-And finally, I’ve been working on a complex system for arms. These really aren’t the “realistic” idea of arms, but they work like this.
You hold down the left or right shift key, to control the respective arm. (Non realistic element coming)… the right arm can only extend to the right side of your character, the left arm only to the left. Both can move up and down (up as high as they can reach, down to the surface you are standing on).
In addition, the arms can be used to “feel” things, if that’s really what you want to call it. If you move your arm over to the edges of the map, you will be told, “border.” If you reach up to a surface, or are standing on one and move your arm down to it, the length and thickness of the surface segment will be announced. If you are standing on a platform, it’s name will be spoken as well.
In addition to the feeling aspect, the arms can do the basic things, such as dropping and throwing items, as well as exchanging them with your inventory.
It’s not a whole lot, but I’ve been slowly creating functions as I go, such as location and collision detectors, that have helped me a lot. I’d say that the hardest part so far is defining the physics for items, as it requires me to type a bunch of unproven code that I am only about 33% sure will work. I guess I’ll let you all know whether or not it does, once I have a chance to fully test it.
As for developing S Quad Racing, that has gone slower, because of course with my new burst of coding energy I’ve been focusing on Matt the Terrorist’s engine, and unfortunately I have a one track mind. Well, I guess one and a quarter, because I worked a little bit on it, — a few bugs I previously didn’t even know about due to me not racing multi lap races were fixed, and crashing was implemented.
I hope to have audio demos of both games I’m working on in my next post. Also, for those curious as to why there haven’t been updates on the S Quad Racing page, I forgot about them when I started my alpha testing folder, that’s why I haven’t posted many of them recently. This does not mean a lack of work on that project for the last couple of months, — the two audio demos I’ve posted since then should prove that.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Posted in average, busy, gaming and technology, happyness, journal, life, programming, projects, updates

A Long Awaited Update


Hey guys,
Steve here.

So, it’s been nearly two months since I last posted here? Seriously? There’s no way I can believe that. Time has flown by these last couple of months. And when I said it would be one or two weeks, instead of four, before I posted again, only the last part of that statement was true. Unless, of course, I meant one or two months, not weeks.

Over the last month and a half, I did some work on S Quad Racing, though not as much as, perhaps, I should have. Nonetheless, I completed a few things, such as adding proper menu sounds, improving the artificial intelligence’s, well… intelligence, Creating an achievements system complete with the possibility to earn experience points, and completely fixing all bugs that could be found in the game thus far, but that’s about it. I sat down and wrote an outline for Arcade Mode, and will try to compose a sort of to-do list, so I can at least try to structure my coding into priorities, something I have failed at doing in the past. This is not to say I’ll end up sticking to that, but it’s worth trying.

On a loosely related note, the very basics of Matt the Terrorist have been established, in the form of a primitive, and I mean extremely primitive, game where all you can do is walk around. There’s a platform that spawns, but you can’t even interact with that, yet. But I guess every game has it’s starting point. To my credit, even though you can only walk around, tiles have a property called thickness. And for platforms, depending on the thickness, a different footstep sound will play. For example, if the thickness is 10.0, it will play the sound of walking on stable wooden boards. However, by the time it gets to 2.0 or lower, you will hear yourself walking on very unstable wood. So even though the game seems primitive, I’m still a bit proud of myself for what I did manage to code in under an hour.

In other news, part of the reason I haven’t been coding and writing as much, is my recent spike in gaming. Recently, Danny and I have been playing a two player pong game, created by Dragon Apps. I must say, I kind of feel bad for Danny. Because out of all the matches we’ve played, and I’d say that’s about four or five, he hasn’t won a single one. We’ve played one “long” game, where the winner was the one to reach a score of 21, and the rest were “short” games, in which 11 was the winning score. The closest he came to winning was the long game, where he managed to achieve a score of 16 give or take, due to a streak of complete failures on my part. That’s okay. Because even after several months of frequently playing, he still owns me on Audio Quake most of the time, so I think we’re even.

That wraps up this post. I’m not necessarily done catching up, but I’ll save the rest for a later post. Do not worry, this is not, my last post of 2015. I’m not sure what happened that got me out of blogging in October, causing that lengthy silence (besides that poem), but it won’t happen. I’ll blog again next week, I mean it this time.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.