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Adding Intellectual Overhead Since 2006!

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Music To My Ears

Today, I successfully incorporated the JetLag sound effects into the iPhone version. I have also completed the main menu, how to play, and about screen.

Which means I'm just a little bit of testing away from done with it. And then it's off to the app store!

It is a wonderful thing to hear the jetlag song coming out of headphones on an ipodtouch.

Guess Chess

For a second time and a second handheld platform(former platform was Cybiko, for those interested), I'm once again stealing a game idea from John Hattan. The original game is called Black Box Chess, where the goal is to guess what chess pieces go where on a chess board, with the ability to get hints from selecting empty square and seeing how many of the pieces on the board "threaten" that square.

Also, if you are a iconbuffeter or a person who has ever gone to molotov.nu, you will recognize the icons I have taken from those sources (the chessboards came from molotov.nu).
Screen Shot At: http://playdeezgames.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/guess-chess/

iPhone JetLag

After toying with it for a while, I changed iPhone JetLag to use a 40x30 grid, which makes each of the cells 8x16 pixels.

I prefer to have the game on a 40x(something) grid, so my choices are:

1. the 8x16 half wide cells that I am currently using
2. rotate the screen sideways, to make 40x26 cells, but all of the 12x12.
3. use 8x16 tiles, but make all of the objects double width, kind of half using a suggestion made for my last entry.

For art, I figure I can make the solid blocks myself, and steal some powerup items from iconbuffet, if I decide to go with them.

Or I can just take the original ascii character bitmap from JetLag1999, and just use that. Dunno yet. We are at a crossroads for JetLag as we know it.
After toying with it for a while, I changed iPhone JetLag to use a 40x30 grid, which makes each of the cells 8x16 pixels.

I prefer to have the game on a 40x(something) grid, so my choices are:

1. the 8x16 half wide cells that I am currently using
2. rotate the screen sideways, to make 40x26 cells, but all of the 12x12.
3. use 8x16 tiles, but make all of the objects double width, kind of half using a suggestion made for my last entry.

For art, I figure I can make the solid blocks myself, and steal some powerup items from iconbuffet, if I decide to go with them.

Or I can just take the original ascii character bitmap from JetLag1999, and just use that. Dunno yet. We are at a crossroads for JetLag as we know it.
After toying with it for a while, I changed iPhone JetLag to use a 40x30 grid, which makes each of the cells 8x16 pixels.

I prefer to have the game on a 40x(something) grid, so my choices are:

1. the 8x16 half wide cells that I am currently using
2. rotate the screen sideways, to make 40x26 cells, but all of the 12x12.
3. use 8x16 tiles, but make all of the objects double width, kind of half using a suggestion made for my last entry.

For art, I figure I can make the solid blocks myself, and steal some powerup items from iconbuffet, if I decide to go with them.

Or I can just take the original ascii character bitmap from JetLag1999, and just use that. Dunno yet. We are at a crossroads for JetLag as we know it.
So, I'm working on finishing an iPhone version to put in the apple app store for the iphone and ipod touch.

The biggest issue I see here is that the game does not have art. It consists entirely of brightly colored blocks. The iPhone app community likes polished and slick applications, and I'm going to give them jetlag.

So, I've got a choice: serve up jetlag with a blurb about how jetlag is simple and fun and people should look beyond the crude graphics, or serve up jetlag with a basic list of why jetlag is a crude game, and sort of point out why a person might not want to play it. i'll also put similar content in my instructions screen(s). I'm going with option B - the self-effacing game.

So, I need a list of stuff to put in, so I'm asking for help.

The graphics will be rather similar to http://www.playdeez.com/JSJetLag.html, so any statement made about the online version could be made about the iphone version. One main difference is that the web version is 40x30 cells, wheras iphone will be 20x30.

Here we go:

This game is called JetLag.
You to play.
You are the red dot.
You have a tail of yellow dots.
You are falling down a tunnel with blue walls.
Don't touch the blue walls, or the game is over.
You can only move diagonally left and down or right and down, never straight down.
The tunnel is filled with white dots.
Don't touch the white dots, or the game is over.
You gain one point for each white dot you successfully pass without touching it.
Your score is in the upper right.
Your high score is in the upper left.
There are no extra lives.
You to change directions.
There is no pausing your game.
JetLag cannot be won.
The best you can hope for is to last longer before losing.
So, I'm mostly through a prototype JetLag for the iPhone. I posted a screenshot on my blog: http://playdeezgames.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/it-was-as-we-all-know-inevitable/

This is also technically my first OpenGL application. However, I mostly just ripped the content out of a different demo, and put JetLag in, mainly because there is still something about the Objective-C memory management that I just don "get" yet, but I will.

Standalone Version

For a stand alone version of Connect!, I could have gone with a number of different solutions.

One, I could just distribute a zip file with the html and js files in it. This did not appeal to me, as it wasn't really any better than just having it on the web.

Two, I could make an Adobe Air application. While I still may do this at some point, I don't want to go through learning where all of the little tweaks have to be done to make it work. Also, I don't want to force players to install Adobe Air.
More...
New Updated Version

Implemented:
-Graphical themes.
Implemented But Needs Improvement:
-Declunkify the UI.
-Winner celebration (ditch Cheerleader)
-extra for "perfect" game
-Navigator (remove revert button, change confirm dialog, tooltips)
Still Not Implemented:
-Timed play, starting only after the first move is made.
-Move counter, counting total number of moves made
-The ability to choose a random seed/game number, so that the same board may be generated again.
-Improved graphics.
-Help file, including tips and tricks for solving a puzzle.
-Tutorial Options:
-Color code chains(y/n)
-Allow isolated chains to be created(y/n)
-Allow loopback chains to be created(y/n)
-Title Screen.
Cancelled:
-A "Give Up"/"Solve" button.
-The ability to "lock" connections that the player "knows" are correct.
-A tool that allows one chain of connected nodes to disconnect all nodes within it(Hammer Tool).

Refactor #2

Well, I added a lot of stuff, and Connect! got messy again. Also, I think I'm evolving in the way I do my JSHTML projects, so my style is changing, which means I need to go through and make stuff consistent again.

I've pretty much touched every script file in the project making a handful of functions into an object instead.

One of the things I really like about javascript is the easy way I can go from:

more

Stuff

So, due to completely random circumstances, I found this:

http://chivalry.deirdrakiai.com/

Which means not only is there a new item on the blogroll, it also means I found this:

http://dead-code.org/home/

In my brief investigations, it is an engine that may suit my nefarious needs. (Ok, my needs are hardly nefarious, but they are still needs). The scripting language is suitably javascript-esque, the price is right (free), and the applications are stand alone.

Sure, the engine is designed for point-n-click adventures, but, like most things, it can be abused to make puzzle games or really anything else I feel like. I'll investigate it further before too long (JetLag, anyone?) and then I'll have a new platform (like I needed more).

Anyway, enjoy killing the Queen, or whatever you have Phlegmwad do.
I'm at that point in writing this game.

The point called "Concept Complete" or "Prototype Complete
, which as often as not winds up being a state called "Done".

For another of my games that is permanently in this state, try out the Unnamed Game, which hasn't changed much since it got into the current "Done enough to play" state almost three years ago. I did wind up changing the colors of some pieces about a year ago, but that's been it.

...

I suppose it could be worse. I could be one of those developers with a bunch of title screens and demos that aren't quite games, and super-pretty websites with forums and concept art.

Instead, I have some "almost games" and some games that are "done-ish" ... at least they are playable.

...

So, why do so many of my games and game concepts go this route? What keeps me from completing them, and by complete I mean *COMPLETE* (professionally finished and polished)

The main reason: the current incarnation of Connect! has taken maybe 15 hours of development time and has been interesting to do. To finish the game and polish it and give it all of the bells and whistles and usability that it should have in order to be a finished game it would take at least another 60 hours, and much of that development is uninteresting.

...

Still, I'd like to finish Connect! - even if only to prove to myself that I can actually finish something completely. For this I need to enter into the Time of Refactoring.

So far, Connect! has consisted of a single source file. At the moment, it has a little over 500 LOC.

Mostly, the stuff outside of the board itself (the buttons, the cheerleader) have been hacked onto it in an ugly wartish way.

In other words, the code has reached the threshhold of unmaintainability.

So, it is refactor time. I should, after about 5 hours of work or so have it in better shape. It won't play any differently, but it'll be better organized and adding the remaining feature set will be made much shorter by doing the refactor now.
Link: http://www.playdeez.com/jsconnect.html

First, I addicted my wife to my new game, even in the rough state it was last week. This alone shows that a game has promise, since my wife would be exactly in my target demographic.

Second, a number of visual improvements. The connector sections are slightly narrower than the nodes (to make them easier to pick out). Color choices have changed slightly.

Third, the Reset, Undo, and New Game buttons. As it turns out the long load time has nothing to do with generating the maze (as you will be able to see if you click on New Game... for me it is nearly instantaneous). I think the problem lies with the creation of the IMG objects, which is done (foolishly) by appending text to my DIV's innerHTML property.

Fourth, since a puzzle never loops back on itself, the game will not allow connections that cause a loop to form.

On the "TODO" list:

1. Different sized boards (4x4-16x16).
2. A better "a winner is you" than an alert.
3. A Timer, starting only after the first move is made.
4. Game number/random seed.
5. Improve graphics, especially buttons.
6. A "Solve" button.
7. Repackage as Yahoo! Widget. (The original intended platform)
8. Repackage as Google Gadget.
9. Help file, including tips and trick for solving a puzzle.
10. A tool that allows one chain of connected nodes to be completely disconnected.
So I moved Connect! over to my site:

http://rurl.org/fqz

I also have modified it somewhat... I put in a green/red lighting thing so that you can easily see when you are done solving a puzzle (before, there were "solutions" where all nodes were zero, but the maze was in two or more parts. Now you know you are done when all of the nodes are green, which is the same basic mechanism as in Hexircuit/Cowhead/Pipes.

Also, I eliminated the character 0, and simply show a node with no number in it. In playtesting, I discovered that one of the ways I can better solve the puzzle was by realizing that I couldn't make two dead ends connect. Ergo, a 1 node with no connections next to another 1 node with no connections will never connect, as it would make an isolated portion of the maze. The same thing goes for a group of nodes connected together... if there is only 1 connection left to make, it won't connect to another section with only one node unless that connection solves the maze.

(I guess I'm finding it sort of difficult to describe the concept... I'll have to work on it)

Connect!

Working a little last night on a new game. It was a game idea I've had for a while. I call it, for lack of a better name at this point, "Connect!" and the first target platform is YWE.

Its related to Pipes! in that the game's purpose is to solve an interconnected maze of nodes.

The difference is that instead of rotating pieces, the board simply displays the number of open connections for all of the nodes on the screen, like so:



And the player adds and removes connections between nodes.









So far, I find the game difficult, mainly because I'm just now figuring out the logic of determining which connections to make.

At the beginning of the game, you look for 4s in the middle of the board, 3s on the edges, and 2s in the corners. After that, it can get tricky.

I recently discovered that my Pipes! Yahoo! Widget was within the top ten most popular YW with the tag "game". Which made me look back at the Snake game I made for Scratch, which was still in top 10 "most loved" scratch games.

Thinking about this, I realize that the most "popular" games I make are always Pipes, Snake, and JetLag. There is nothing earthshattering about these games. Nor is there anything original in the slightest.

But if the world wants to play Pipes, Snake, and JetLag, then I shall give it to them, although I do think that if I ever manage to complete a YW version of Space Trader, it'll be a big hit, but again won't be original in the least.


Pipes!

Snake!

JetLag

One of my favorite parts of these games is that they are, compared to most games, rather ugly. But when an ugly game is played heavily, you know that it has something about it that transcends what it looks like.

I just wish I could bottle whatever it is that makes these games popular.

It's Here!

Well, mostly here, anyway.

http://www.playdeez.com/jsjetlag.html

The stuff at the bottom of the page (at least in theory) allows a user to create an account/login/logout/etc.

When a player is logged in, it starts recording jetlag games played while on the page, and puts the statistics at the bottom of the page.

Yes, there is still some tweaking to do, but the functionality is there.
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