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Developming my 2nd game

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BooH released, lessons learned and more

After about 4 months of hard work, today I've releashed my game; BooH.
For the ones who read my earlier journal entries, it's been a heck of a ride

The final/ 1.0 release can be found here:

Since the 2nd beta build, I've made quite some changes.
By head:
- new animation for game over, instead of a cold screen switch to the leaderboard
- added a new 6th/ last level
- small improvements on level design
- collision detection improved
- menu options expanded, sound/music now can be disabled if the user gets annoyed by the looping music
- balanced the game, especially the differences between difficulty levels

In the end I can say I'm proud of the end result and hope lots of players will have fun with it. I've just played the full game in Easy mode, where I've done about 1 and a half level from first person view. And not to sound narcistic, but I really enjoyed it.

Enough about all the good things, what did I learn?
- design of the game would have been different, if I thought about 'timing'/ timesteps earlier (with/ without v-sync). Maybe use some sort of grid instead of realtime AABB collision detections, although the chosen approach ofcourse helps in first person/ 3d view
- the GDD really helped me out during development of the game, it's a living document and was only finished about an hour ago when I released the game
- it's good to think ahead before just start coding and modelling, development because of this, went pretty smooth
- keep to your game's core features and don't get lost in new shiney ideas, which will eventually prevent you from finishing a nice game (of course you can tweak the features/ game design along the way, but keep to your base plan and mission).

For who's interested, the GDD can be downloaded here:

My next projects have sort-off already started, I'll be working on:
- learning D3D11, already finished the 1st (math) chapters of the Frank D Luna book, now starting with d3d initialization
- building an asset viewer and start setting up my own Asset Pipeline, for now using the current engine (with d3d9).
While doing this, I'll improve on the engine and make some preparations for moving to d3d11. Not sure yet if I'll 'just start over' or refactor, start over is also an emotional thing, since I've started with the engine in 2006.....

I hope you've enjoyed reading my frequent updates during my journey to finally release 'BooH'.
My best friend's gonna work on a simple website where I'll post the game, together with my 1st game (Asteroidz). In the future the site will expand with new games and nice demo's/ screenshots.

Have fun all and remember, finish stuff and don't get lost in to difficult details




New beta build, nice improvements

Last 10 days were a nice experience, getting feedback on my first ever beta release of a (semi serious) game.

Semi serious in this case, meaning that it went through the full development cycle (although its release is not aimed to earn money), uses my own engine and mostly assets created by myself and a friend (audio).

So first of all, thanks to everyone for the valuable input (i.e. Eppo, NightCreature and others).

What's changed since the 1st beta build?
Default lower graphics settings
- It seemed that X8 MSAA is not a good default setting for avera users, so changed to X2 MSAA
- also added a video options setting to manually change the setting and tweak/ play around

Graphical improvement
- PowerUp's are now Gold instead of white, difference in size alone didn't draw enough attention to these powerful thingies

- Bug fix: in some occasions the player would get stuck in the maze (top view only), because of a bug in the collision detection routines. Changed this to the 'right way', which also 'feels' better when playing. For those interested:

- Precompiled shaders instead of realtime compilation, this really saves startup time (since there are about 140 permutations for the ubershader)
- better game balance for Normal and Hard difficulties

Ofcourse I'd love to hear your feedback on the 2nd beta build, which can be downloaded here:

(nice with an installer and everything )

Have fun and keep the feedback coming




BooH beta: deadline achieved & done

Good news guys, I've managed to meet by 'Beta release' deadline.
BooH version 0.9 is now available for trying out:

Some facts & figures:
- 5 levels (2 more will be added in the Final release)
- in the Original GDD I've planned to spend 3 months to achieve beta.
The reality is that I've spend 4 months, but I'm really satisfied with the results.

I really like to hear your feedback and bugs if you find any.

For the final release I only plan to:
- fix crash bugs
- add precompiled shaders to speed up startup time
- add 2 more levels

It's been a great journey to achieve this goal.
Many thanks to everyone supporting and helping, like in the comments of my journal updates, helping me out on the GD chat etc.

Looking forward to your thoughts on the game.
Ofcourse I'll be posting updates when I get feedback, final release should be ready in about 3 weeks (depending on the input I receive).




3 days to beta, very short update

Getting closer and closer to beta.
Just updated the Game Design Document and concluded which must/like to have/ nice to have features will be in the final game.

Beta release will be on Sunday the 19th, keep following the journal to download the full game (Beta).
Working this hard on finalizing a 'serious' game gives lots of energy, sometimes stress (mainly energy).
Decided to add a 4th/ extra level upcoming days.
No images this time unfortunately.

Stuff done the last days:
- finalizing GDD
- adding a 5th ghost in a level (and therefor making this flexible in the game code instead of hard coded)
- some minor menu improvements, enable/disable V-sync and audio controls
- converting all assets to final shipment formats (DDS textures, OGG audio, PNG sprites etc.)

Till next time.




quick update, 3d hud done, 1 level to go

Just a short update, finished the implementation of 3d mesh instance rendering in my hud. Through some hoops and bumps directly implemented in a flexible way in my engine. Future use for any purpose is easy now.

For 'BooH' it means the ghost indicator for First Person view is done now, a quick shot below.
In short:
- when you play BooH in first person view, you have no clue where the 4 ghosts are in the level
- the ghost indicator starts rotating when one of the ghosts is within 5 meters of the player, the closer the ghost gets, the quicker the ghost indicator rotates. The only improvement I might add is a less linear speed increase when the ghost get's closer.

For beta, all that's left:
- add last/ 3rd level
- one nasty memory leak to solve
- one crash bug in gameplay

Keep you posted.

Note; for how's not known with 'BooH', it's my 2nd game (1st using my own engine). It's 'loosely' based on pacman, but with the ability of switching between top and first persion view mode at any time. And ofcourse with somewhat modern rendering and techniques (although DX9 for now).




Moving towards 'BooH' beta, new level & animation added

Hi all,
Making nice progress on BooH, Multi level now working as a charm. When adding a new level to my game for the 1st time, I've encountered quite some 'small stuff' that needed adjustments. But I've now reached the point where the player can play both levels and hit the leaderboard if they're good enough. The engine (/ framework) is becoming more and more mature and flexible for future use in games (not just 2.5D/ sort off 3d platformers, but also full blown FPS experiences )

For practice in state management and to add some nice rendering effects, I've also added a animation for the player, when he/ she succesfully finishes a level.

Here's some shots of the 2 different levels and the animation in action.
Wish me luck on completing beta in about a a week from now

Quick note; in the animation, both the player and the collectibles meshes rotate.




Good update on internals, new levels peace of cake

Just a short update after some nice improvements last 3 to 4 days.
I've designed and implemented my scenemanager and gamebase classes.

Meaning I've got great flexibility now and adding now levels is now a peace of cake :)
The whole design/ framework/ engine base is now set up really flexible.

When making your 1st game with your own engine, you realize quite some things you wouldn't know if you just develop the engine without actually using it. Same goes for all the above improvements.

No Visuals in this update, but ofcourse, more to come




Finished menu's and leaderboard

Hi all.
Just a short update on the progress;
- finished the menu's including scaling, meaning that in all chosen resolutions, the menu's scale up nicely now
- the user can now switch screen resolution and windowed/ fullscreen mode in game, it even saves the changes for next time
(only on the running machine possible resolutions are shown and selectable by the user)

- leaderboard 'Top 10' added, user input also done, I chose for 3 positions/ initials

(nice to have feature if I meet my deadlines: online Top 10 highscore/ leaderboard, simple approach, using FTP and an online ASCII file)

Next steps to meet the beta release deadline:
- finish ghost indicator for first person view
- add the planned 2nd and 3rd level (design done, implementation todo)

Any comments or feedback? (alway appreciated)




Menu's and state management added

Just a short update.
Last few nights I've been working on adding the (game) state manager and setting up the menu structure.

Also decided on the name of the game, it'll be 'BooH'

Here's two shots of the menu structure (in progress).
Let me know what you think, I'm personally not happy yet with the new game/ difficulty menu. The controls are clear for the user, but the screen just feels a bit crowded/ chaotic.

Next things on the do do list;
- add options menu (switching resolution etc.)
- add leaderboard (class, loading, saving, updating etc.)

Will keep you posted, wish me luck




Alpha release delivered

Hi everybody.
I want to take you on a trip through the development of my 2nd game ever. Note that the 1st was just a 'simple' Asteroids clone, though completely finished with difficulties, levels and even an end boss

If you want to give it a try, you can download it here:

So, back to my 2nd game: Pacman 3D.

My goal is to deliver a game that uses my own 'DIY' 3D engine called Crealysm. Along the development of the game, the engine will be adapted were needed. The mission statement of the game:

[font=arial]"Pacman 3D is an arcade game where the player eats collectibles and avoids ghosts throughout mazes to survive. The game world is in space and the levels are floating islands. Power ups will give the player the ability to 'eat' enemies. The player can play both from a top view of the maze or from a first person view of Pacman. In first person view the tension increases and the player doesn't know where the ghosts are.[/font] "

Character background & game mood:
[font=calibri]"[font=arial]Pacman is hungry guy who loves eating collectibles.[/font] [/font][font=arial]The ghosts want to keep all collectibles for themselves and will do everything to prevent Pacman from getting them. They will be terrified when Pacman eats a power up (big collectible).[/font] [font=calibri][font=arial]When playing in First Person mode, the moods get darker. Lights decrease and the tension gets higher with scary music. Where are the ghosts???[/font] "[/font]

My highover planning was as follows:

I ended up starting with development in the 2nd week of December 2014.
Along the way, combined with my busy day time job and my family, I've managed to deliver the Alpha release today.
In total the original planning shifted about 4 to 5 weeks.

The whole development of the game is guided by a 'almost full blown' game production process, with game design documentation, milestones, planning etc. With the minor detail that besides a good wiling friend, I'm the only/ main resource.

I'm very proud that I've got the basic gameplay all in place, therefor I've put the Alpha release online:

Any input on game play, bugs, suggestions is welcome.
I'm lacking resources for basically everything but audio, so play testing is Always welcome from the outside
The only thing missing in Alpha compared to plan is some final audio assets, they'll be replaced next week.

Some guidance:
- the game starts in Top view, switching between First Person and top view is done pressing 'SPACE'
- movement of the player in Top view is done by the Arrow keys
- movement of the player in First Person view is done using WSAD keys and mouselook
- you can restart the game by simply pressing the T, Y or U key (Easy/Normal/Hard difficulty)

What's next?
To give you an impression what's to be added between Alpha and Beta (= feature complete), here's a shortlist of the feature set to de developed:

- state management and menu's (including options, game resetting etc.)
- new levels, 3 levels planned and designed (in scope, might be more after releasing)
- ghost indicator in first person mode (ghost will rotate quicker when a ghost is nearby)

Wish me luck the next 4 to 6 weeks, I'll be posted some updates in the meantime.

If you see this you should move back quickly.



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