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About this blog

Writing about the process of developing and programming games in my spare time, and the things I learn from taking part in game jams.

Entries in this blog

 

One Lone Coder Jam 2019

This week I took part in the One Lone Coder 2019 game jam. The theme of this was “destruction”… My entry was started Friday, a mere 48 hours before the deadline. Yes, a week long jam where I had a whole seven days to come up with an idea was started 48h before the end… Have a good idea The main issue I had this time was thinking up an idea that felt good enough to be a game.
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James Grimwood

James Grimwood

 

Godot Wild Jam 12

Between the 9th and 16th August 2019 I took part in the Godot Wild Jam #12. Let’s go through what it was like, and the things I learned this time. My game, MatchUp is a fairly simple match-the-coloured-blocks game. It’s not a match-3, because the game doesn’t care how you match the tiles, and each level has a different number of tiles that need matching. Think of it as a mix between those “Same Game” block games and ZooKeeper on the DS.
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GMTK Game Jam 2019

It’s been a long time since I entered a game jam, the last ones being the One Game a Month jams back in 2014. This one was the GMTK Game Jam 2019 Friday Night So the challenge was to make a game around the theme Only One. At first my idea was to have some sort of arena shooter where you’d have only one life, and there’d be only one level or something.
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Component Based Game Engine From Scratch Part 2

Introduction Last time I explained in detail how the whole system worked. This time I will focus on the component system, as it is quite complex. Using it isn’t complex, but I’m trying to mimic Unity’s functionality that was written in C#. Functionality that is partially implemented within the editor and doesn’t relate directly to typing in code. I have no idea how Unity really does this, but the solution I have come up with seems tidy enough and fits neatly within a single C++ header.
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Easier Game Controller Input in SDL with SDL_GameController

Game controllers on computers are somewhat irritating to manage compared to a console. Has the user plugged in an XBox controller? A PS4 controller, or have they obtained some random USB controller they found on eBay? Coping with this in SDL was difficult, with SDL just telling you “button 13 pressed” or “joystick axis 4 moved”, which is great except all your code really wants to know is “did the user just press the A button?
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Maths for Programmers 1 Rearranging Equations

Become better at maths! Are you able to write perfectly functional code, but find the language of mathematics somewhat confusing and hard to make sense of? Are you someone who can look at code like this: int total = 0; for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) { total += i * 10; } but have a complete failing of understanding when presented with equations like this or can take an equation such as speed = distance / time and use it, but have problems when needing to rearrange the equation to work out the distance travelled?
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Component Based Game Engine From Scratch Part 1

Introduction This is going to be the first part in a continuing series where I try to explain how and why I’m creating my own game engine using C++ and the SDL library. My engine isn’t going to do anything amazing, but will borrow ideas from other engines I’ve used before such as Unity. Booting an Engine Rather than sitting down and attempting to plan out the ultimate game engine, I’m taking an organic and iterative approach.
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Creating a Modern Static Website Using Hugo

This post is sponsored by hand coded HTML and CSS. Hand coding your HTML is a quick and effective method of getting your presence online! The first 20 people to click the link below will get 100% off their own hand coded website! You will require your own hands and knowledge of HTML. Wait, no, that’s wrong… you’re supposed to rent a domain and an account from a top brand web creation site and apply one of those modern templates that just scroll endlessly down forever.
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James Grimwood

James Grimwood

 

Text printing using bitmap characters in C++ and SDL

Back in the mists of history, sometime around the 90s it was quite common for games and demos to display text on the screen. Since we’re talking about old computers with barely any usable RAM, the text was stored as images. A giant single image with every character placed within it. To display words programmers had to be a bit inventive. That’s the topic of today’s post. Back in ye olde times, parts of the image were copied to the screen in a way similar to the newspaper ransom notes you used to get in bad TV shows.
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James Grimwood

James Grimwood

 

0x02 - Why the name?

Life as an “indie developer” sounds like the dream life, doesn’t it? Get up, sometime around the crack of noon, casually sit around and bash out a bit of code while sitting and enjoying not having a boss or any real world commitments. Someone else once told me that gamedev was like playing pinball - if you did well, your reward was to do it all again. And again. Make a thing, distribute the thing quickly so you can make the next thing.
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James Grimwood

James Grimwood

 

0x01 - A new beginning

I’m starting random, part time game development again. Last time I did this with any sort of regularity was sometime around 2015 as part of the One Game A Month Challenge, which after this month ends will be no more. Back then, making a game was fun, and making it in a month was a challenge. After making around ten, I was somewhat burnt out with the idea. My problem is that I get lost in the minute details of the programming, creating elaborate debug menus and clever sprite management systems instead of games people want to play.
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James Grimwood

James Grimwood

 

Odroid Go Graphics Programming

Before we begin… I know, there’s nothing particularly special about drawing on a screen in 2D and making objects move. However, the device I’m using isn’t actually designed to do this. The ODroid-GO contains an ESP32 microcontroller which is designed for Internet of Things applications - smart devices that can talk WiFi, Bluetooth and control things using easily programmed GPIO pins. Want to make your washing machine controllable via the web, then an ESP32 would be the perfect choice.
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James Grimwood

James Grimwood

 

Odroid Go Raw Coding

The ODroid GO is a handheld console that sells itself as a device that will run emulators of all your favourite 8bit systems. And it does that job rather well, I spent at least five minutes with mine playing Tetris, and it was a good emulation. Then I installed the Arduino libraries for it, plugged in a USB cable and started trying things out. I quickly came to the realisation that the Arduino libraries were easy to use, but if you wanted to make a game, they were also very limited.
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James Grimwood

James Grimwood

 

About

James’s DEV Profile James Grimwood I currently live opposite a building site (where I live was a building site six months ago), it’s a good visual metaphor for software development. Putting up walls makes a house-shaped object, but that’s probably the easy part compared to putting on a roof and the thousand tiny jobs required. Starting from just a blank Visual Studio project, just how far can I get in a year?
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James Grimwood

James Grimwood

 

A week of Pico 8, and the fun of limits

Big systems are interesting; they’re complex, have many interlocking and interdependent parts and exhibit really fascinating emergent behaviour. Take a hospital, for example. You go in the door marked “EMERGENCY” and talk to the person behind the desk, while wondering just how bad the top of your head is. She asks for a few pieces of personal information, taps on her computer for a while and then looks confused. It appears that if you don’t ever go to hospital, then they don’t know who you are, and it takes a lot of clicking and typing to piece you together.
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James Grimwood

James Grimwood

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