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Swordmaster (Nintendo DS) Arcadia (WIN PC)

## WTFBANANA+1!?

wow the site looks all new and modern! cool.

Eh well didnt do too great at uni,

theres this huge (and i mean HUGE) party comin up this weekend and i can't think about anything other than how awesome its gonna be, last year's was the best night of my life, no doubt.

Anyway I'll keep posting here randomly even though im not devving any game.

## Do I give up?

Well .. I think this is it..

I've been studying 16hours over the last 2 days, and I havent been able to learn anything from my maths subjects. (Exam is in 4 days time and due to my performance during the semester ill need about 70% to pass)

So . . as dire as it sounds, I'm starting to make plans after I dropout of university..Because it seems pretty certain, and I already failed last year.

First thing is I will get kicked out of home..

Before this happens I'll need to get a new computer... cos I doubt i'll be able to save enough  once im out.

I need to decide what to do next:

- Ive been told by alot of people that maths is imperative to be a programmer - I dont personally see it this way, but how would I know?

Id love to keep teaching myself to program. . But I wouldnt be able to teach myself the maths..

The other option I have (which i would like to do ALMOST as much) would be to get into 3d modelling/animation . ..

Anyone got some tips for me on working as a game artist? I honestly have no clue about this industry, ie; how hard it is to get into (id assume quite hard?),

also - is formal training valued in 3d art professions? I would think it would be almost entirely portfolio based, but once again, what would I know?

Anyway, any help appreciated!

## *cry* *sulk* *tantrum*

WAAHAAHAAAAAA
*sniff*

Why doesnt anyone like my swordmaster idea?

Guess I'll chuck that one in the bin then! And I thought it wouldve been so cool. . .

Mind you apart from mario DS I havent played a new game in about a year so I guess I _AM_ a bit out of touch!

Once my exams are over (in a bit over a week) I'm going to hit directX again,

Get everything happening for a level editor.

GUIs
Ive been thinking about GUIs and wondering if there would be a visually appealing & practical approach to replacing the common 2D HUD style GUI with 3d buttons placed around the game world.

If it could be done properly it would immerse the player alot more because they wouldnt have this unrealistic HUD

It could be displayed on the player's helmet visor (in a futuristic game), I guess, but what about fantasy games?

Not many knights of old walked around with a wooden plank attached to their face/helmet displaying their current "HP", and a quickbutton to the items in their bags.

RPG COMBAT, SKILLS, LEVELS, ETC
I'm also really over traditional-style RPG combat. I want to bring alot more twitch into games.

Surely to do this will make the control system will be a nightmare?
....well, yeah...
Now instead of have to gain a "level" to be better at sword swinging, youll have to actually practice and learn it yourself. It might seem awkward at first, but do you remember what it was like when you first tried driving a car?

There will have to be a good spread of twitch & intellectual skills, and some form of representation for social skills too. (for all the uncoordinated people who are unable to master the combat, etc)

It will in a way, (hopefully) make the player relate better to their ingame character. . because they will both posess similar skills.

Now I'm sure there'll be plenty of people that hate my ideas, dont get me wrong, theres a time and a place for "traditional" RPGs, but if they want to become more immersive, I think theyll have to give up on the random combat methods..

The whole idea of everything being a number is crap!

Anyway I'm making this up as I go, I'll continue my rant later when I've thought things through some more!

## "Swordmaster" Overview

hey, thanks for the tips on seaching and stuff..
(This was going to be a reply to my previous journal entry, but I thought id put it here for everyone to read)

Most of those previous ideas arent thought through very much at all! I have some other ideas on paper that are thought through alot more (the ones I REALLY like) but didnt want to include them or else I would try to embark upon them straight away, which I dont have the skill to do! . . Besides. . theyre top secret in case anyone steals them!

SWORDMASTER
To give you an idea for the "swordmaster" game,
the touchsceen would use a top-down view showing just your character. when you slide the stylus around on the screen, the sword will be moved in 3D (slightly restricted) by doing the following:

The tip of the sword remains a constant distance from the arm/sword pivot point. This defines a sphere of movement (where the tip of the sword intersects the surface of the sphere). Secondly, only the top half of the sphere will be used (no sword movement below wasteline unfortunately. . unless some kind of "low-swing" button was used . . but thats not in the plan for the time being.

so basically, for every x & y position, there will only be one possible z-position, removing the need for 3dimensional control as z is just a function of x&y.

Because of these limiting factors the sword can be swung in 3D only by using 2D input.

Ideally swords will have momentum, (only simple though, all collisions will be treated as "headon" rather than have glancing hits etc) so when your sword is in front of the opponents, it will slow his down etc.. So blocking/parrying will be automatically taken into account. Sword velocity will also determine armour penetration/damage. . and Im thinking of armour itself just affecting the swords velocity.

The singleplayer game will be an RPG, where you are your town's "swordmaster" (through some series of events that provide the intro to the game. . maybe your father who was the swordmaster died or something) And it will involve following some plot (possibly finding out who your fathers killer was, and inflicting some old-fashioned bloodthirsty retribution on the killer)

Gameplay will be more adventure/puzzley than a "serious" RPG. . as its meant to be a "pick up and play" kind of thing that people could play on their way to work/whatever rather than an epic.

Character development will try to keep simple, but I love complex character development so who knows ;) I have a few ideas on it.

This is what I think would be really cool - the sword controls would be difficult to master, but once you become proficient, some pretty cool swordfights with your mates could follow!

## Re-Hashed

Well I realised my old journal quickly became full of junk, and I didn't like it, so here's shiny new journal version 2.0!

I can actually program (a bit) now, so expect something reasonable to be posted here every now and then, rather than just my "ambitions"

In saying that, here are my current ambitions (I havent really started any of these yet, but summerbreak is only 2 weeks away so I'll have loads of spare time):

1)Universe-sized and microscopically detailed space MMORPG set in a futuristic time (planet-side & space travel)
.
..
... "*cough*" I hear you all say :P

(. . I know it definitely wont ever happen. . but Its still in my "hopes & dreams"!)

2)Another online thing, but not so massive, and very simple gameplay. . . I'm not too clear on this one yet but it will involve very odd graphics (partially inspired by Darwinia) and very odd gameplay. Something to do with the origin of the universe, energy, and maybe even mathematical formulae(?I'm trying to debate whether this could be made fun or not..I'd err on the side of not at the moment)- I'm really not sure about this whole idea yet so dont get your hopes up!

3)A nintendo DS RPG called "SwordMaster" or something .. . where you have absolute freedom over where & how you swing your sword using the touchscreen. . . I'm thinking 2D backgrounds + 3D characters/monsters, but I really dont know how DS's hardware will handle what I want to throw at it so I'll have to wait and see.

4)A 3D platformer called "Arcadia" where you have to run through 3D levels inspired by arcade games (ie: tetris, space invaders, pacman, etc)

5)Some AI/Artificial Life programs. . this sorta stuff is really interesting.

Number 4 will probably be the first to happen as its the simplest and will be a good stepping stone to the others.

Anyhow I've managed to avoid talking too much BS in this post, so I'll stop writing now before I ruin my shiny new journal.

What do you think of my game ideas? are they any good? (ideas 2, 3 & 4)

## Internet Research

My biggest issue by far is focus,
Does anyone here manage to perform any internet search without finding they've:

a) been sidetracked onto another topic.

b) lost all track of time, and just wasted away the day/night downloading large chunks of the internet, and never actually getting around to reading/using any of it.

c) come up with absolutely no answers to what you were trying to find?

d) gone onto a forum to ask *the question* and woken from a sleep-like stupor 6 hours later to find theyve started 500 threads EXCEPT the one they were meaning to??

People really need to put FAR more money into search engines and such . . . or separate the internet into an "official" section, and a "my 2 cents" section...

I think that would be ideal.
Something along the lines of an online library, where people who are actually qualified on certain subjects can post tutorials, papers, etc. (only factual information allowed) - so that search engines dont turn up so many amateur pages. - I'm not saying all amateurs suck, but some of them do, and unfortunately the only way to filter them would be cut them all out. .

I dont know maybe everyone studying at university should be given webspace, so that all their articles etc. can be associated with a ".edu" address...

Once again there are plenty of people that arent formally educated who know alot about a lot of things, but you have either the option of
A) cutting some people out
or
B) letting EVERYONE in

I guess this was all worthless, I've not come up with a solution....

anyhow

When i get round to coding and stop googlising every whim and sudden interest (trust me. . I'm interested in EVERYTHING..."knowledge is power"...)

Anyway like I was saying, when I get around to it, I will make a direct3d tree (...representing the type that grows out of dirt and falls on bears in the woods when noone is watching) made out of lines using simple recursion.

It will have different coloured lines on its tips to represent leaves, id like to animate it too so that it grows, loses its leaves every 6months, flowers, etc...

I was kind of inspired by the look of "Darwinia" to do something really odd and wirey/simple-looking graphics-wise..

Oh look i changed my "current project" again without starting the last one. . .what a surprise..

Stay tuned, who knows what I'll be up to next time I make an entry!

## I Got a DS!

OK OK so PSP is out now, so why on earth would I want a DS?...

Its fun :D, I love the touchscreen!
Also, Ive never really been a huge *OMG its got this much polygons and other graphical features at a framerate I cant even notice* fan...
So at half the cost of a PSP, there wasnt really any decisionmaking needed!

Anyway so far ive only got mario 64 DS. .. but I never got to play the 64 version when it was first out so theres nothing wrong with that at all!

Oh and did I mention its shiny blue?
Well I did now..

Anyhow I think im gonna have to have a bit of a meddle with GBA programming. . . I have noticed there doesnt seem to be much on actual DS programming available online. . .

Anyone point me to any tutorials(are there any?) Id love to get some touchscreen input happening!

Also in the shadow of PS3 & XBOX360 I have to say, bring on the Revolution! (except for those blocky uglyass controllers) . . The control system sounds awesome I cant wait to swing a sword around with it!

## Got my journal back!

Woops let my subscription payments slide for a while, just paid for 3 months though!

In other news,

TetrisClone cancelled - sorry people! (cos I'm sure so many of you were looking forward to me going on about how good it was :P) All the graphical stuff was done and movement etc, so it wasnt a total loss. 2D graphics sh!t me though - just because theyre so finicky; "pixel this" "pixel that" la-di-da!!

I've started using the Irrlicht engine to make an RPG . . or a 3D RTS . . I havent decided yet. . maybe both. The 3D RTS will probably come first as it seems a lot simpler to me.

It will be heavily influenced by StarCraft (dont even talk to me about anything else, StarCraft was and still is "the sh!t" when it comes to RTS's.)

It will feature 3 races -
Humans - Obvious what they are. . . their infantry will be very lightly armed/armoured, lowtech sorta stuff - theyve only been exploring space for a couple years.

Robots - these were created by humans to colonise uninhabitable worlds and mine them etc etc, but their artificial intelligence was too good, leading to them turning on the humans and trying to achieve their goal "survive & multiply"

Do-Gooder Alien Types - I guess theyre similar to protoss, but theyre more like weedy sort of "typical" aliens, but not with big black eyes. They will have advanced technology of some sort, I'm not sure what yet. These guys come to save the day from the robots who threaten to take over the universe and punish the earthlings for creating the robots in the first place. . .

well something like that. . im not sure exactly.

I'll try and make it a little better out of the norm as far as resource management and base building etc, goes - I was reading a thread about such things in the game design forum (I think?) and had a few thoughts on that. .

Anyway I'm just at a point where I need to decide whether to use tilebased maps or just one custom made mesh for each map . . I dont really want to do all the wacky programming (tile edges and such) for a tilebased editor but my modelling skills are nonexistant so I may have to.

I really dont want to go getting other people to do anything because theyll most certainly try to take over my project and ruin everything ;) (call me paranoid...)

I think my ideas for the RPG have been blown way out of proportion. . . It started as a humble idea, but more and more new features kept building onto it, then it became MMO . . .so ill probably have to scrap the whole idea since its most likely infeasible!

On the topic of RPGs i picked up a magazine today and saw some pictures of the morrowind sequel. . . :O

Its about time i started saving up for a new computer... . FINALLY!!!! (currently on 750mhz Duron, 312mb SD ram, 64mb ddr GF4)

Anyway I'll shutup now.
If you have any ideas for my projects (or against) id be more than happy to hear them!

## Today's work

Well today was the first time I really got down to work on my tetris clone, and it feels really great because so far I've done everything without looking at a tutorial. . Sure I had to ask the forums about a couple small things, but thats to be expected!

I only really spend an hour or 2 on it, but I got all of the base classes compiling (No major achievment, but getting off to a good start has really boosted my morale)

Tomorrow I'm going to get things displaying on the screen. Once thats done, I'll just have the score/"how to win" code and the input code to put in.

Maybe I'll come up with some extra art tomorrow too for the interface/menus.

## Just another update

Well I've figured out how I'm going to make my tetris clone. .. any comments on the way i've chosen to do everything would be appreciated as this is really just the "first" way that came to mind, and probably not the best.

Basically there will be 2D array of 'squares' that represents the play area, and a 'block' which is the falling bit (made up from a number of squares in a certain arrangement)

collision checking (to work out whether the block has reached the squares at the bottom/sides) will simply involve looking ahead to the position it plans to move to and seeing if anything is already there in the play area.

when the block reaches the bottom, the squares from it will be added to the play area..
then all the rows of the play area will be checked to see if any have been completely filled, at which point they will be removed and any rows above will be moved down.
this will continue until the play area gets filled up to the top row, or the level is completed.

Thats pretty much it! very straightforward.

## How to open beers without beer opening implements

OK So here is my first official tutorial:

Its 11:30pm, saturday night, I'm in at home. . not really been coding or anything just bummin about on the internet.

Thought i'd have a few beers. . All I've got are coronas (Which doesnt bother me one bit. . . best beers under the sun!)

But they dont have a twist-top, so you need a bottle opener.

Its pretty simple really: use a small flat-head screwdriver to bend the side up a little bit, then grab those needle-nose pliers i know you all have (c'mon . . we're nerds. . admit it) and twist the top up and over. . .

Done :)

After a few more I may or may not stab my hand with the screwdriver while trying to open the bottle.

## Game art revealed! OMFG!!1111 .

heh well here it is. . take a look at this!

These are the squares that will be used to build the 'blocks' involved in my tetris clone. . .

an extra colour may be needed, I didn't think about what shape blocks would be involved when I did this.

bugger I cant remember html!

*edit* oh yeah its not [] for tags :P

Well this morning I figured out where I was going wrong with loading a bitmap into directX, thanks to MikeWW for modifying my code a little. .
I went back over and got my version to work too . . I think I see where the problem is coming from..

Anyway . . now that that's done pretty much nothing except for user input and the actual game code stands in my way of a tetris clone! Hooray. . I feel like i'm achieving something monumental here :P

I suppose I'd better get down to it and figure out the structure of my program now .. i cant just fit the whole game into the render function. . . . or can I?
>_>

Dum Dum DUUMMMMM...

"I'll get you next time gadget! Mwahahahahahahahahaha"

PS: My dad rang me this morning (I live at my mum's place)
and told me that our cat died :(
He'd been run over a week or so ago, and they found him in the hospital - All signs were pointing to him being OK, and theyd taken him home and everything, then he died one day while they were out. :(

## Well, Well...

Head over to the beginners forum if you think you can help

If you missed my thread in the GDNet lounge, leave a comment here (or there) about what your favorite band/artist/group/producer is so I can have a listen to some of their stuff.. . I'm currently looking to 'expand my horizons' as far as music goes.

## See!

Well this is why I get impatient. . I was on a roll. . nothing could stop me. . . then a problem came up that I couldnt solve, try as I might. .. OK no worries. . I'll get on the GD.net forums and someone there will answer...

*tick-tock*

I'm losing patience FAST. . . this is why I always gave up before . .. when you're in **---THE ZONE---** you cant just stay in **---THE ZONE---** while you sit around waiting for someone to answer your question .. sure. . its only been say. . . 15 minutes. . .but I mean . . thats it. . I might not get any more work done for the rest of the day now. . .

ARRRGGHH! *eye twitches like a mad-man*

I'll just sit on the forum pressing refresh till someone answers my question...

If you think you can help:

https://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=340078

## *does a jig*

I am so good!
I am so good!
I am so good!

I finally got this damn blank window to initialize directX and quit properly without leaving itself running in the background..

It's only written out from a tutorial .. but the important part is I UNDERSTAND every single line of code in it!
(Mind you I dont understand all the parameters for initialising everything. . but im not so bothered with that cos I can always look it up when I need to)

http://members.gamedev.net/gav86/bin/beginning.rar

*takes no responsibility for wasting your bandwidth*

## "A new hope"

Not so much hope. . . The stubbornness in me is starting to show - *Grrr!*

I've cancelled all social activity for the weekend, and am determined to make a significant dent into directX. .

Wish me luck!

## Just a bit of a rant...

Well I'm still new to this whole game programming thing but here's a bit of advice...

DONT BOTHER WASTING YOUR MONEY ON COURSE PTR'S "Beginning DirectX9"

1)The printed code in the book is retarded - there are obvious (and notsoobvious) errors.

2)Its possible the CD wont work. . Mine didnt.

Find something else instead. . . I'm still in the process of finding that something else. . So any recommendations? (non-Course PTR would be preferred after this experience)

Its a shame, it was looking like a really good book until the errors started creeping in - it does a good job of explaining directX from a basic level, but I dont really think that alone justifies the price.

In other news, do other people here find it impossible to think while they're listening to music?

This is a real problem to me as over the last year ive become used to almost always having a pair of headphones on....
So keeping them off in order to think properly is really hard. .. Sometimes I look up and realise that id put them back on even without realising!

## Well I went and did it. . . should've known!

I knew this would happen . ..

I got sidetracked with something else and havent touched anything programming related for a few weeks...

Can anyone recommend me some kind of supplement to increase concentration?

Oh before I lost interest though I did successfully go through an SDL tutorial . . at which point I decided my C++ is finally good enough to go for directX - I dont see the point in learning too much SDL as none of my game ideas really work in 2D..

So I've started on directX, I've just made my blank window display a blue background :O

The major point is it all makes sense to me now, whereas before it was just meaningless code.

Time to get serious now!

I'll be working through "Beginning game engine programming" - as i'd prefer a base-up knowledge of things.

So making games is a long way off for now . . .
I dunno .. maybe directX tetris and such . . but even that could wait until i've got a basic engine built. .

Anyway . . .. Lets see how long i last this time before i get distracted. .

## *search shmearch*

Well in some ways today has been really productive, but I still feel cheated at the end because I didnt actually manage to do any learning and/or programming.

- Got some great SDL tutorials from here:

http://www.aaroncox.net/tutorials/

- Also was looking through my course webpage for my uni degree today(computer science) and found out that even though I'm only in first year I have access to all the online notes etc. for every subject all the way up to 3rd year - So I have some pretty interesting reading to do now on neural networks, genetic algorithms, 3D maths, Networking, Optimization. . hell all sortsa stuff! I probably will have trouble actually implementing it in code at the moment but its still interesting to read . . .

Also hopefully I will be able to get SDL setup on our uni computers tomorrow so I can use all those frees I have to get started.

Everytime I'm about to go and start coding I get interrupted with some search for an extra little tutorial or something which ends up turning into a rip-fest of tutorial websites.. . Will I ever get started?

-gav

## Progress Report

Well uni goes back tomorrow, but I dont think that will slow me down at all since I havent really been spending much time lately on programming/learning.

I've been making good progress and am alot more confident with C++ now, I think I'm ready to move up another level - so today I downloaded SDL and grabbed a good tutorial for it from here:

http://sol.planet-d.net/gp/

Won't have time to get started on that tonight, but from the code snippets I had a look at it looks like the logical next step for someone getting into game programming.

Outside of programming things have been looking up as well - I'm an amateur DJ (anyone got any ideas for a name?)and things are really starting to fall into place with my mixing - so I should have a demo that im happy with recorded in a couple months.

For anyone interested I play hardcore (I guess you could call it 'techno' if you didnt know any better. . its not but I wont go into the details here.)

Anyhow keep producin them games I need to see people succeed to keep me motivated!

-gav

Well I'm still charging on through C++, hopefully in a few days I'll get into the win32 stuff - I really want to make sure I've got it all down before I head into programming graphics/games after my initial blunder of jumping in at the deep end and drowning in code.

I've been trawling through the gamedev forums today, and alot of people have reminded me of things I'd almost forgotten about - Mainly SNES RPGs - When I think of them, it reminds me what got me into computer games in the first place, I still remember the first time I ever encountered an RPG - It was Secret of Mana, a friend had hired it out from our video store and we played it nonstop for days - I didnt reencounter this game until I was introduced to emulators (it was the last year of primary school, pokemon was the 'in thing' (this was the first time pokemon came out on TV and gameboy, and everyone without a gameboy had the emulator) *ashamed*).

Anyhow I've come up with a sort of "broad" goal - To bring back some of the feeling of SNES RPGs to games - not exactly, of course, things can be modified and updated (for one thing I don't think there was quite enough character development, and the worlds were not very 'deep') - but I think all the modern RPGs are missing something that these older ones had.

## Flip-Flop

If there's one thing I'm really terrible at, it's making decisions.

I'm trapped in the middle of the age old war between C++ & Java; and whenever I think I've made my choice, the other beckons me to reconsider it.

I think I've finally realised that I want to use C++ ultimately for developing games and that java is really avoiding the inevitable. It might seem easier now, but its only wasting my time in the long run.

So C++ will be my vehicle of choice when it comes to games.

-I need to step back a bit though, put the game/engine/graphics programming on hold. - Its too much of a jump for me, looking at basic directX tutorials I realise I'm in way over my head, although I might be able to "understand it" at face value, its not the same understanding I need to *learn* it.

That leaves me with a pretty bleak few weeks. . at least it will lead to better things!

For the time being I'm going to go back to basics and learn C++ PROPERLY from the base up. . . this means spending all my spare time out of Uni staring at text output on Ye Olde command prompt .. . But its a price I'm just going to have to pay!

-gav

PS: Expect me to change my mind again 5 more times before I decide upon something.

## Change of plans

With the next uni semester approaching, I've decided I really need to focus on doing well at my course, so rather than going and learning C++ I'm going to be developing my java skills further (which is what we're required to learn at uni).

This should be a much easier entry into games programming (well. . I assume so considering that java is generally less hassle than C++).

All you puritanical C++ zealots can stop banging on my door, I know I'll eventually end up there (unless something else comes along...)

So scrap all those previous goals I'd just set, I'll be looking at developing a 2D isometric RPG I think. (After I get some PONG happening of course!).

At the moment I'm trawling about looking for java tutorials - I haven't found much in the way of games programming so any links would be appreciated!

-gav

Time to set myself some goals:

First things first, I'm going to need a game engine to build my games on.

I'll start by working through the book "3D Game Engine Programming"

-seems to have pretty much everything I need to get started.

Once I work through this, ill start over again and build my own engine, rather than use the one in the book - although im sure theyll turn out very similar anyway, it'll help to cement the knowledge and make sure im not just copying and pasting code without understanding it.

I'll hazard a guess at being able to complete the book and its tutorial before the semester ends (which gives me about 12 weeks).
I'd like to be able to have completed my own engine by then too, but thats probably asking for trouble!

On a shorter timescale, by tomorrow I want to have worked through the book far enough to have a renderer that will display a blank screen. (this is very reasonable...I think!)