Steven D Podcast Episode 7: Read the Manual, or Die in a Horrible Alien Invasion as you Watch Everyone Else Get Abducted by Mutants.

What, none of that sounds pleasant to you? Yeah, me neither. That’s exactly what I had to endure however, when I decided to play Villains From Beyond and Dark Defender, two retro style arcade space invaders games from Oriol Gomez and Guillem Leon, without reading either of the manuals first.

View the Show Notes

Steven D Podcast Episode 5: Scramble… to Nowhere?

**This stream is informal, and all in good fun. Anyone jokingly called out at the beginning is actually a friend and no one is being genuinely insulted on stream. Most people know this, but figured I’d include it **

Welcome to Episode 5! In this one, Sam, Alec, Carter and I demonstrate this fun new game I’m creating called Scramble. It’s a rather arcade style game, but it’s unique and has several different and interesting concepts. You won’t want to miss this one!

Steven D Podcast Episode 4: …Kick your ass!

This is a special episode of the Steven D Podcast.

Sam, Carter, Alec, and I are all hanging out at Sam’s house for the week. In this episode, all 4 of us take turns playing a few small competition games, to see who can get the highest score. Among those are The Great Toy Robbery and Super Egg Hunt from L-Works, and one of the games from Sam’s not yet released Constant Motion project demonstrated in Episode 3.

As usual, the four of us have a great time, and you won’t want to miss this!

Steven D Podcast Episode 3: The Obvious Problem with Running Away from your Problems!

Well, I think the title says it all! In this exciting and suspenseful episode, listen as I demonstrate an epic new game that Sam Tupy is working on! The game is called Constant motion, and is actually a series of several minigames that will have you jumping at every turn, cursing in frustration and anger, and your heart beating way too fast to be good. You won’t want to miss this action packed podcast!

As usual, if you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback, visit stevend.net/podcast to fill out the form. You can also see more episodes, subscribe if you haven’t done so already, and drop a donation if you feel the podcast is worth it!

Steven D Podcast Episode 1: Oh… Shiiiiit!

This is the first episode of the Steven D Podcast!

It features myself, and guest host Baylee Alger, taking the game I created known as Oh Shit, and putting it through the grinder! I start out playing a regular round of the game, but end up messing up the mechanics so badly, that it turns into something that not even the best regular Oh Shit players would be able to play!

You won’t want to miss this episode. It’s filled with fun, jokes, and best of all, interaction with listeners just like you! If you missed out on this live stream, don’t worry! You can still write in through the form on the podcast page, mention me on twitter, or of course catch the next stream! Also don’t forget to subscribe!

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.

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.

A Lot of Coding and A Lost Friend

Hey guys,
Steve here.
Tonight, I bring to you all some very sad news. Unfortunately, me and Nevaeh are not, friends. I tried to talk to her again the other day, but instead of replying, all she did was look at Danny’s I Pad, which he was using to Skype with me. Oh well, so be it. For all she knows, my name is Meow, I’m from the great state of Meow, I’m meow years old, and my ultimate goal in life is to meow. You can’t really blame her for never wanting to talk to me again, because judging by that conversation I’m quite a big loser. (LOL)
On the contrary, I actually have quite a bit to talk about, all of that being productive, well not really if my ultimate goal in life is actually to meow. But as it turns out, school is going along well this year, especially my Digital Interactive Media class, which is surprising since I was really scared at the beginning of the school year when I found out what the class actually was. I’m not talking about Business Information Management, the class I’m referring to is a massively visual class, where it’s barely the fourth week of school and Adobe Photo Shop is being used already. Fortunately, the teacher is allowing me to use that time to work on S Quad Racing, and setting deadlines for things, a plus since I now have another person motivating me to get things done. Anyway, he asked that I finish the regular racing mode, and I’ll be pretty well darned if I don’t. Maybe opponents won’t be perfectly matched with players, but he asked me to complete the racing mode, and he’s the only person pushing me to go forward, and I’m not letting him down. I have a lot of people who are proud, but he’s the first that is pressing me to get things done in a certain amount of time, and that’s what I’ll have to deal with in the professional workforce. And when telling him about the game, he especially got pumped about the Aggressive mode, and I will provide that to him by the time I leave his class in 8 months if it means halting progress on all the other aspects of the game until it’s complete.
Aside from that, the day after my last post, I finally broke down and employed a beta team for S Quad Racing, due to frustration at having to find and fix bugs on my own, bugs I thought were fixed already. I felt bad for them for having to test such a primitive product with so many bugs, but thanks to them I’ve been doing all the coding and fixing, and letting them test for the bugs for me to fix. This has definitely been a great help to me, because it lifts one of the most annoying jobs of being a developer off my shoulders, and results in me not having to sweep over sections of the game I thought I’d already tested through and through.
For one thing, today I solved all the crashing issues known to S Quad Racing, and also made it impossible for anyone working on a track to lose their work due to closing the application or it crashing. When I say I solved them all, I don’t literally mean I came up with a magic formula that made everything work 100% as I envisioned, however, rather than crashing, the program will simply log the error, notify the player, and save their progress. So, while I’m off coding a new feature, or doing something else entirely, the program will be logging vital errors, allowing me to pop over to that section of the code and fix what needs fixing, though my testers will still need to report bugs that don’t halt program execution to me.
Another plus side to this, is that now I’ll definitely be able to record the audio demo, without having to worry about the program hanging on me like it did in my last attempts. So, and I say this with the finality of a slamming solid stone door, there will be an audio demo by Saturday!
On a final note, I once again decided to revisit BGT, and am surprisingly grasping the subject matter fast, and more completely than ever. My main reason for doing so is a complex game idea I have, one that I’ll save for another post. For now, though, I am signing off, and will more than likely going to bed here shortly.
Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Interesting Game Development Updates

Hey Guys,
Steve here.
So I’ve had an idea for a rather unique track building system for S Quad Racing, and it is quickly becoming reality. In this track builder, which is nearly complete as far as current game functionality goes, users are offered two ways of building tracks.
When a user first begins editing a track, they are placed at the starting line, and the builder is in driving mode. In driving mode, the builder works exactly how the game portion works, minus opponents. There is one difference, however. While driving in the builder, a user can hit the P key at any time to enter pause mode. When in pause mode, the car, and all obstacles, are frozen in place on the track. In addition, the turning keys are not used to move the car; instead, they are used to add turns to the track. The idea, is that a user can add either a left turn or right turn of any severity to the track, by pressing the corresponding arrow keys. For example: pressing left arrow once will set the turn type to easy, twice will make it moderate, a third press of the key will start a hard left turn, and the fourth and final press of the key will begin a hairpin left, the sharpest turn possible in S Quad Racing.
When the user has selected the type of turn they want to insert, they would press P to enter back into driving mode, and their car would enter the turn, just as if they were encountering it in the race portion. When the user felt the turn was long enough, they could end it by first entering pause mode, and then pressing the opposite arrow key (if they were working on a left turn, for example, they would press right arrow), until they heard the words “go straight.” Upon entering back into driving mode, they would find that their car was no longer in a turn.
While I’m sure my explanation confused some of you to no end, an audio demonstration of the system will be released within the next week, which should help to clear up some of the confusion.
The second way to add turns to tracks, (the less confusing, more familiar way), is to use the built in track edit menu. This menu can be accessed only within pause mode, by pressing m. Using this menu, players can add or remove turns, change track settings, as well as build structures. The way turns are added in this menu is that the user keys in the start and end position the turn is to be placed on the track, and then the type of turn it is they are adding. As this is the more familiar approach in most other racing games, I figured I’d add this as an option.
Still, even if the user chooses not to use the build-as-you-go method, they can still use driving mode to test and make sure their turns are placed exactly how they want them, making this a unique, flexible, easy to use system.
Besides the track builder, I took out obstacle functionality for the moment. Obstacles are still in the game, but nothing happens if you or an opponent runs over them, as I have new ideas that are, in my opinion, far better than the systems I’d previously implemented. In addition, I finally encrypted all character data, to prevent people from going in and setting their stats to cheat their way through the game.
As it currently stands, S Quad Racing will soon be ready for early testing, which comes as a relief to me, because after 5 months I’m about ready for people to at least try out my work.
Coding aside, I’ve had quite a good couple of weeks. Besides it being Summer of course, I spent the first half of the week hanging out with my friend, and the rest of the time I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping in, working out, and, of course, GAMING!
Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

A Horrid Mess of Code

Hey Guys,
Steve here.
Some of you might be wondering what is with the strange title of this post. Perhaps, if I was to inform you that I had a hard time coming up with a way to write this post in common English, not to mention the many attempts to write this post that were deleted because they appeared way too technical and over the heads of the majority of my blog’s readers.
Anyways, I’ve decided to organize this one by level of complexity. That said, I have some news regarding the Steven D Podcast.
I recorded it last week, on Audio Quake as I previously said I wood. Unfortunately, I was unable to post it on Sunday because I was traveling to camp. However, I’ll try and get it posted at some point this week, so stay tuned.
Also, due to the above mentioned camp, there will be no podcast episodes next week or the week after. But when I do record another podcast, I think I’m going to start a series on the game Awesome Homer, found at Jim Kitchen’s website.
In other news, I have a little release for today’s blog post. Unlike the games I released over the last two months or so, this will not be of much use to anyone, except programmers of audio games in pure basic. However, since it is my blog and I know of a few said programmers, I’ll go ahead and release it here.
download this small set of includes that make some audio game tasks a bit easier
This includes a way to create audio game menus, as well as audio forms. Included are documentation, examples, and the Tolk library which enables screen reader output.
Moving on, though the change log doesn’t say it yet, I’ve made some significant changes to S Quad Racing. For now, I’ve deleted out all of the menus, and have begun replacing them with menus generated with my dynamic_menu class. This might seem like more of a waste of time than anything, but it helps me as the developer because it shortens my code and takes about 5 or 6 minutes out of the time it takes to code a full menu. That being said, I now have some awesome main-menu music, and cannot wait to show it to you in my next audio demo, which won’t be for a while since currently the “regular race” option doesn’t go where it’s supposed to go. Perhaps, though, I’ll be able to scrap something together next Wednesday.
More importantly, I’m slowly realizing a gear system for this game. And before I end up forgetting it, I’ll go ahead and explain my ideas here:
There will be a minimum and maximum speed for each gear, as is the normal. If one exceeds the maximum speed for the gear they are on, the car will explode after 10 to 15 seconds. Each time the driver shifts one gear up, their speed will stay the same as before. However, gearing down will not work unless the user slows to a speed that is less than the maximum speed of the gear they are switching to.
As for acceleration, and that good old gear switching affect we’re always used to hearing in most racing games, I have a complicated system for that, but I’ll not go into detail until I try it out since it hasn’t been proven to work. However, if this all goes well, I guess you’ll have something else to look forward to in the audio demo. And, I’ll be looking into getting that dreaded bug preventing multi-lap races. Stay in tuned to the s quad racing updates page.
Well, that about wraps up this post. I’ll blog you later.
Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.