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Beals Software

Weekly Update #11

Posted by , in Indie Spotlight, Weekly Update 10 September 2013 - - - - - - · 493 views

We'll start off with Mikeyo's video:

Youtube Link

I apologize for the absence, Mike has been out of town and I haven't had much to report other than disasters.

I keep all of the game assets on an external drive that is connected to my development server; this makes them easily accessible from anywhere. However, I had an issue the week before last with files disappearing momentarily, most notably video and audio files (mainly because I use those for an extended period of time.) I've backed everything up, but I'm not sure how to move forward as neither the server nor the drive seem to have any issues. I was thinking it was a connector issue, but I had no issues with it connected directly to my laptop; now I'm thinking it may be a network issue.

Then this last week I spent most of my time over at my mother's house due to an infestation of yellow jackets. We're back home now and it is mostly dealt with (I hope), but I didn't get much done as I was running back and forth between my house, my parents' and the store.

This last weekend was not much better. I spent most of my time trying to track down an error that was being caused by MonoGame. Basically every now and then the game just won't run, it throws an error about failing to find the entry point for one of the opengl DLLs. This is just one of a long list of issues I've had with the library, so I'm moving away from it; playing around with SFML at the moment to see how well that works. I originally chose MonoGame as I wanted easy cross platform, but the cost to develop using C# on Android is just getting to high at this point ($1000USD per year, per platform, per developer just so that I can use it with Visual Studio? No thanks.) This is another reason I'm looking at SFML, they have bindings for C# and Java, so it should be easy enough to have two separate builds. We're having a meeting today to discuss the alternatives though.
Top Down Shooter Engine
I was able to get the TDS engine I created for LD27 converted over to MonoGame (from XNA) and got it updated to use our core libraries. This was pretty painless; I've written the code a lot of times, but it changes each time and it is usually just enough to make it a PITA when I try to convert it. There is still a ton of features that it needs, but it is a pretty good starting point. The first thing I'm going to work on is adding thinner walls and collision detection that will work with that.

Seeking Imagination Battle Arena
I fell behind on development for SIBA because I was trying to make the two engines the same since SIBA is supposed to be the prototype for Seeking Imagination. As you can imagine, this doesn't work very well. While they both have the same core mechanics, the engines themselves are very much different - SI is a singleplayer action RPG, SIBA is a multiplayer action arcade game (with RPG elements); SI has saving and loading, SIBA does not; etc. So, going forward I am focusing on SIBA and once I'm done I'll fork the code and alter it for SI.

I did manage to get melee combat in; I need to update the code so that it (and activation) takes the player's facing into consideration. Once I have some AI brains completed I'll post a video showing off the combat.

Lastly, I completed the implementation of a new feature - item instancing. We added this as we want to allow customization of items (think enchanting or sockets.)

Game Jolt Integration
I've mentioned Game Jolt before, but I haven't really been using it. Back in February I created an open source API on CodePlex (gamejolt.codeplex.com) and I've now completely integrated it with our base library. The API provides simple solutions for game news (new DLC, kickstarter, etc) and cloud saves at the moment, if I think of anything else I will be adding them as I go. Here is a screenshot of the login screen and trophy screen running in Young Minds Memory Game:
Attached Image Attached Image

Obviously the project will be changing shortly, depending on which library we decide to go with.

Indie Spotlight
We chose our first Indie Spotlight entry - Steam Marines. You can find out more information about the game on our spotlight page. It's a great game and I highly recommend checking it out.

We have chosen the game for our second Indie Spotlight, but we plan on continuing to do them, so if you'd like to be featured on our front page, our Facebook, our Indie Spotlight page, our weekly update video and have a permanent project page on our website then let me know. It doesn't have to be a specific platform (though we are limited to recording Windows only at the moment) nor does it have to be free. We'll also update the page whenever you'd like; so if you add DLC/expansion packs, start a Kickstarter, etc you can just send us an email and we'll help spread the word.

Facebook Contest
Our Facebook contest is still going on (facebook.com/bealssoftware); we're just 15 likes away from our first drawing. So let your friends know to get in now for the best chance to win. You can find the rules in this Facebook post.

I've rambled on enough today; if I missed anything I'll cover it in next week's post. Thanks for stopping in and have a great day!


Weekly Update #10

Posted by , in Weekly Update 19 August 2013 - - - - - - · 330 views

Welcome back for another Weekly Update!

I'm trying to clean up the previous weekly update entries. It appears that every time I edit a post it messes up the formatting and removes the embedded YouTube videos. I will be posting a "Youtube Video Link" below the embedded video in case it gets removed.
Seeking Imagination Battle Arena

Youtube Video Link
In this installment of our devlog you can see the UI updates that I've made (font changes and the new message popup texturing) and the beginning of ranged combat. There was supposed to be more, but as always implementation issues and life got in the way.
How to get out?
Matt is working diligently on 'How to get out?' We will have some screenshots shortly...just as soon as I get the artwork to him. Moving forward Matt will be writing this section, so they should be more entertaining and have more content in them.

Facebook Contest
Our Facebook contest is still going on over at http://www.facebook.com/bealssoftware. Stop by and like us to be entered in the first. If you don't win, you'll continue to be entered in the future drawings. See our previous post for the rules.

Indie Spotlight
We are working on gathering some games to put in our weekly Indie Spotlight. Mikeyo gives more details in the video below, or you can see our previous post.

Youtube Video Link

Thank you very much for stopping by! Tune in next week for some more videos and screenshots!


Weekly Update - 8/12/13

Posted by , in Weekly Update 13 August 2013 - - - - - - · 298 views

Here is the video of Seeking Imagination - Battle Arena's prototype:

[edit]
The editor for these entries is terrible. The font sizes keep randomly changing and it keeps removing my video links. I've added the YouTube video URL back.
[/edit]
Yesterday did not turn out to be my best of days. I ended up having to record the video twice as the first time I recorded three and a half minutes with my headset plugged in, but not on my head. I then lost about 3 hours of artwork as my computer crashed; GIMP locked up when I went to save, so I copied and pasted everything to MS Paint only to have that lock up as well (and then everything else started locking up.) I'm still not quite sure what happened.

Seeking Imagination
We are plugging away at Seeking Imagination - Battle Arena. The nice thing is that we are almost past the backend stuff, so moving forward there should be a lot more content. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@BealsSoftware) as that is where the pictures will be posted first (I'll be doing a round up and posting them here as well.)

I was going to show off the battle system, crafting and shop this week, but while implementing it I uncovered a bug and a large design oversight that took a bit of time to correct. The bug was a simple fix - everything was immune due to the health calculating off of the wrong stat. However the design oversight was a biggie - there was no way to implement brains in NPCs.

Anyway, those issues have been corrected and I am currently working away at getting the UI artwork done (part of the artwork that was lost last night.) I'll post some screenshots of that on Twitter and Facebook later tonight.

How to get out?
Matt has been quite busy building the base framework for 'How to get out?'. I am going to be providing him with the script and the art for the first entry in the series at some point this week; this was the majority of the artwork that was lost last night. We are having our meeting shortly, so I'll have more information about the project in the next update.

Facebook Contest
We're getting closer to our first drawing for our Facebook contest; at the time of posting we need 25 more likes. For those that missed it, here are the rules for the contest:

Starting now we will be giving away a $25 gift card for every 100 likes we get on our Facebook page (facebook.com/bealssoftware); if we hit 600 likes we will also be doing a drawing for a bonus prize.

The contest will run until either we reach 1000 likes or November 30th 2013 at 11:59pm ET, whichever comes first. Anyone who has liked us, rounding down to the nearest 100, will be included in each drawing (with the exception of any previous winners.) However, if we do the drawing for the bonus prize, EVERYONE will be included.


So, head on over to our Facebook page and give us a like!

Indie Spotlight
We're still looking for some indie games to feature on our site and (if we receive permission) our YouTube channel. If you have an indie game that you would like us to put in the spotlight, please let me know. I have found a few that would be good picks, but I am waiting on responses from the owners.

Here are the rules for the Indie Spotlight:
We are starting up our Indie Spotlight segment - we'll be playing indie games and doing reviews for them or, if allowed, video gameplay. We'll also be offering to host a copy of the game for download and will put up a page on our site for it.

So, if you are an indie developer and have a game/prototype/alpha you'd like for us to put in the spotlight and it meets the requirements below, let me know!
  • It can be run on a Windows machine, Android device or iPad
  • It doesn't require illegal software or for us to root/jailbreak our device
The game doesn't have to be free, but it will help your chances of us getting to it. We are not a game reviewer, we just want to help out and this seemed like a great way to do so. We'll only be doing a single game each week to begin with; we may increase this at some point, but I would no count on it.

That's all for this weekly update. Thanks for stopping by; we'll see you next week!


Weekly Update...is moving

Posted by , in Weekly Update 09 August 2013 - - - - - - · 214 views

Hi everyone, I just wanted to pop in to let you know that we are moving our weekly update to Mondays. Trying to hit Friday is just not working out very well for either Mike or myself. Having the weekend to put together videos and the blog posts will definitely make things a lot easier, plus I normally get the most work done over the weekend. By the time I get to making the Friday post, I've had about 4 days of not getting much done, making for a very bleak post (I fail to write down what I do over the weekend and come Friday I just can't remember.)

Facebook Contest
The Facebook contest that I mentioned in the last update (link) is till running. At the time of posting we need 27 more likes before we can do our first drawing.

Indie Spotlight
We're still looking for some indie games to feature on our site and (if we receive permission) our YouTube channel. If you have an indie game that you would like us to put in the spotlight, please let me know. Here are the rules:

We are starting up our Indie Spotlight segment - we'll be playing indie games and doing reviews for them or, if allowed, video gameplay. We'll also be offering to host a copy of the game for download and will put up a page on our site for it.

So, if you are an indie developer and have a game you'd like for us to put in the spotlight and it meets the requirements below, let me know!
  • It can be run on a Windows machine, Android device or iPad
  • It doesn't require illegal software or for us to root/jailbreak our device
The game doesn't have to be free, but it will help your chances of us getting to it. We are not a game reviewer, we just want to help out and this seemed like a great way to do so. We'll only be doing a single game each week to begin with; we may increase this at some point, but I would no count on it.

If you decide to submit your game, please let us know whether or not video gameplay is acceptable and, if so, the type that is acceptable (a single session or a full playthrough.)

That's it for now, we'll be back on Monday with our regularly scheduled Weekly Update.


Weekly Update - 8/2/13

Posted by , in Weekly Update 02 August 2013 - - - - - - · 341 views

Hi everyone! We've been a bit busy this week; Matt has been moving and I'm helping my parents remodel their kitchen. We've managed to get some stuff done though!

We'll start off with Mikeyo's weekly update video:

Youtube Video Link

Epic Like-Ability Facebook Contest
We launched a new Facebook this last week. Here are the rules, as posted on our website:
Starting now we will be giving away a $25 gift card for every 100 likes we get on our Facebook page (facebook.com/bealssoftware); if we hit 600 likes we will also be doing a drawing for a bonus prize.

The contest will run until either we reach 1000 likes or November 30th 2013 at 11:59pm ET, whichever comes first. Anyone who has liked us, rounding down to the nearest 100, will be included in each drawing (with the exception of any previous winners.) However, if we do the drawing for the bonus prize, EVERYONE will be included.

Indie Spotlight
We are starting up our Indie Spotlight segment - we'll be playing indie games and doing reviews for them or, if allowed, video gameplay. We'll also be offering to host a copy of the game for download and will put up a page on our site for it.

So, if you are an indie developer and have a game you'd like for us to put in the spotlight and it meets the requirements below, let me know!
  • It can be run on a Windows machine, Android device or iPad
  • It doesn't require illegal software or for us to root/jailbreak our device
The game doesn't have to be free, but it will help your chances of us getting to it. We are not a game reviewer, we just want to help out and this seemed like a great way to do so. We'll only be doing a single game each week to begin with; we may increase this at some point, but I would no count on it.

If you decide to submit your game, please let us know whether or not video gameplay is acceptable and, if so, the type that is acceptable (a single session or a full playthrough.)

Project Updates
Seeking Imagination
I apologize, I do not have a video yet. I received permission to post media so it is coming, I was just busy all day today with family stuff. I do however have some screenshots.

Please note that the tileset in these screenshots is custom, but the characters are not. Once I have combat in and our artist has finished the second tileset we are going to discuss the character sets. The map seen here is the prototype for the Battle Arena; I have since started completely redoing it and I will feature the new layout in next week's video.

Attached Image
Attached Image
Attached Image

How to get out?
Matt has picked up the new project, 'How to get out?' and is running with it. The game is a puzzle/brainteaser type game that puts you in scenarios in which your movement is limited and you need to use your environment, inventory and/or dialogue to get out of. For example: you are a teenager stuck at dinner with his parents; they won't let you leave the table, so you need to use the environment, your inventory and some dialogue to distract them long enough for you to make a hasty exit. There are lots of scenarios being brainstormed, ranging from a bank robbery to being stuck in a shelter/vault/well.

The engine is being written in HTML5 and, as I said before, is being written by Matt. It will be playable on our website as well as on GameJolt. We're hoping to have the first game playable around the end of August/beginning of September.

The Lost Chapters
I have started laying the groundwork for The Lost Chapters. We had to make some changes to simplify it, but in the end this will allow us to focus on the stories in the game rather than the backend. There isn't much more to say on this project at the moment, I've mainly been doing the initial project setup.

SAGE
It's been a while since I mentioned this project, huh? Well, as I said there is a lot that needs to be changed with it. One of my biggest issues with the engine was the node-based scene system that I had set up. It made for very stiff movement and made map-making a nightmare. I chose this system for one reason: it was a simple design. However, this came back to bite me VERY quickly; it introduce many nuances and quirks (the whole issue with picking a node to place the character at when they decided to change their path while moving) and it just limited your area of movement too much.

This is no longer an issue! I have created a prototype with polygon-based A* pathfinding. Basically you pass in a polygon and a map is generated that fits the entire polygon. From there, all nodes are tested to determine if they are inside the polygon; this leaves us with possible nodes for our path (this is the "pre-processing" stage.) From there we can generate a path from any point in the polygon to any other point.
Originally I was testing to see if ANY corner of the rectangle was inside the polygon, but this was too loose and allowed for certain paths to fall outside of the polygon. I cut this down to what can be seen in the image by checking to see if the top-left and bottom-right or top-right and bottom-left corners lie inside the polygon.

It might need to be optimized, but the pathfinding itself is pretty fast at the moment (the path below was generated in 2.9718 milliseconds.) Plus, this will be done on small regions at a time rather than a full map (I'll do some larger tests later.) The polygon can be baked into the map/level/scene or one will be able to be generated at runtime (slower, but will only need to be done on load so it shouldn't be bad.)
Attached Image

Now, we haven't officially started this project back up; I just needed a break from the other projects and we have several point and click adventure game projects planned out, so I decided that I would take a whack at implementing this on a "slow" day.

That's all we have for this week; tune in next week for a glimpse of the combat, leveling and crafting systems in my first video. Also, like our Facebook page and be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card and possibly a more epic prize.

Thanks everyone!