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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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dx elliot

Defend Your Nuts

Yikes! It's been a while since I last updated this.

Well, I finished my second Flash game called Defend Your Nuts, which is a free-to-play Flash game sponsored by Armor Games. The project took six weeks of development and then one week of part-time bug-fixing and polish. I used a lot of audio from freesound.org and the royalty free music was purchased from pond5.com and soundloopstudio.com. I did all the programming and art. It is a simple game designed to appeal to the large casual gaming audience. There are four weapons, half a dozen enemies, a boss fight, and three difficulty settings, so a play-through can take less than 25 minutes.

My other blog shows the progress of how the game was developed, as well progress on my current projects.

logo_390x255.jpg

In a nutshell (no pun intended), I developed Pigs Can Fly which got sponsored by MaxGames.com. Then I proceeded to quit my job and go do indie game development full-time. This is my second game and has done very well in all aspects. I really had to push myself hard to do all the art and animation, which was very time consuming. I'm currently finishing up an unnamed mobile tower-defense game for iOS and Android using Corona (cool library!)...

screen1.jpg
dx elliot

Pigs Can Fly

I finished my cursor game a while ago, and just released it on the Internet with an exclusive sponsor. Click here to play. I decided to give it a cute theme where you have to get the pig to the potion, so he can grow wings and fly away in 25 levels. It was released Friday night, and in as little as 48 hours a million pigs have been saved, contributed by 100 thousand players with an average play time of 14 minutes (thanks playtomic.com for the swf stats). It is now hosted by an estimated 15 websites and the number will probably double in the coming months. It won the daily third place on Newgrounds.

sponsoricon.jpg

So yeah! I would say the game is a success, but not quite a hit. The most critical remarks is that the music is a bit crappy, too short, and not nearly challenging enough making it more of a toy than a game. I do have plans to make a proper sequel later this year which will include a level editor, online level database, scoreboards, more game mechanics, and an iOS version. In the meantime, I'm going to be concentrating on my next 1-2 games first, before I whip out the wild card.

screen6.jpg
dx elliot

Joints

This is the eighth level that I have finished. I've added some support for joints (b2RevoluteJoint, b2DistanceJoint) and it has opened up so many possibilities. I attached many circles together using b2RevoluteJoints to make this long chain that must be held by both ends. A third cursor is needed to swing the hanging door that nudges the circle off the platform.

dx elliot

Simplify!

I did not like the buttons that open gates from the previous entry.. it seemed like a cheap and easy way out. I replaced it with boxes that must be dragged around. This simplifies the game because it is clear that all orange boxes can be moved and all blue boxes are static.

Additionally, there is now a button to end the current cursor's turn. This will immediately play the recordings of all the cursors.



In this puzzle, the horizontal box must be moved to the right to drop the vertical box down. Then, then circle can be moved to the bottom, but since the vertical box is now blocking the bottom tunnel, the vertical box must be dragged up so that a second cursor can then move the circle through the tunnel.
dx elliot

Co-op Cursors

I'm trying to make an original game with FlashDevelop. The goal is simple - to get the box or circle to its destination. But the goal cannot be accomplished with one cursor alone - the level is rewound while the previous cursor(s) have their actions replayed in the scene. For example, one cursor may need to hold down a button, while the other drags an object through an opened gate.

There are still many design problems that I'm trying to iron out.

dx elliot

Box2D in Flash

I finished the development of Xmas sliders a couple weeks ago and submitted it to to the Apple store. It is awaiting a review.

My experience submitting a game for the iPhone/iPad is a bit sour, though the development was fairly easy. I have heard that the process to submit a finished app has improved, but it took many long and painful hours sifting through outdated documentation to make it this far.

Anyways, in the meantime I coded up this simple demo in Action Script 3 using Box2DFlash. It is only 150 lines of code. I did the art myself, as inspired by some recent games like Angry Birds:


//===========================================================================
// Elliot Pace
// This software code uses the zlib License - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zlib_License
// This software uses the Box2D physics library for Action Script "Box2DFlashAS3" - http://sourceforge.net/projects/box2dflash/
// Box2DFlashAS3 is a physics library for Flash built from Eric Catto's Box2D library under the zlib license - http://www.box2dflash.org/
//
// Copyright (c) 2010 Elliot Pace http://www.elliotpace.com
// *
// * This software is provided 'as-is', without any express or implied
// * warranty. In no event will the authors be held liable for any damages
// * arising from the use of this software.
// * Permission is granted to anyone to use this software for any purpose,
// * including commercial applications, and to alter it and redistribute it
// * freely, subject to the following restrictions:
// * 1. The origin of this software must not be misrepresented; you must not
// * claim that you wrote the original software. If you use this software
// * in a product, an acknowledgment in the product documentation would be
// * appreciated but is not required.
// * 2. Altered source versions must be plainly marked as such, and must not be
// * misrepresented as being the original software.
// * 3. This notice may not be removed or altered from any source distribution.
//===========================================================================

package
{
import Box2D.Collision.b2AABB;
import Box2D.Collision.Shapes.b2MassData;
import Box2D.Collision.Shapes.b2PolygonDef;
import Box2D.Collision.Shapes.b2PolygonShape;
import Box2D.Common.Math.b2Vec2;
import Box2D.Dynamics. b2Body;
import Box2D.Dynamics.b2BodyDef;
import Box2D.Dynamics.b2World;
import flash.display.Bitmap;
import flash.display.Sprite;
import flash.events.Event;
import flash.geom.Matrix;
import flash.geom.Matrix3D;

public class Main extends Sprite {
// This will "embed" these assets into the swf file - which means once you build the swf flash file, you will not
// need to include these files!
[Embed(source = '../data/bg.jpg')] private var imgBG:Class;
[Embed(source = '../data/box.jpg')] private var imgBox:Class;

// There may be functions available for this elsewhere, but multiply angles by these to convert them
private static const m_todegrees:Number = 57.2957795;
private static const m_toradians:Number = 0.0174532925;

// I like to just hard code the width and height rather than access it by some other means.
// These values never change on runtime anyways.
// The location of the top left of the window is (0,0). The bottom right is (m_width, m_height).
private static const m_width:Number = 512;
private static const m_height:Number = 512;
private var m_dt:Number = 1.0 / 50.0;

private var m_world:b2World;
// Total time in seconds since we initialized.
private var m_time:Number = 0.0;
private var m_bodies:Array = new Array();

public function Main():void {
// The game begins here!!
if (stage) Init();
else addEventListener(Event.ADDED_TO_STAGE, Init);
}

// Creates a Box2D rigid body (of type b2Body) and includes a reference to the bitmap instance for rendering.
private function createBody(_x:Number, _y:Number, _width:Number, _height:Number, _density:Number, _visible:Boolean, _bitmap:Class):b2Body
{
var bodyDef:b2BodyDef = new b2BodyDef();
bodyDef.position.Set(_x, _y);

var body:b2Body = m_world.CreateBody(bodyDef);
var shapeDef:b2PolygonDef = new b2PolygonDef();
shapeDef.SetAsBox(_width * 0.5, _height * 0.5);
shapeDef.density = _density;
shapeDef.friction = 0.6;
shapeDef.restitution = 0.5;
body.CreateShape(shapeDef);
body.SetMassFromShapes();

if (_visible) {
var graphic:Bitmap = new _bitmap();
addChild(graphic);
body.SetUserData(graphic);
}

m_bodies.push(body);

return body;
}

private function Init(_event:Event = null):void {
// Create the background first so it gets displayed first. Everything else
// gets drawn on top.
addChild(new imgBG());

// Create world that all the physics objects will be contained in.
// In some games, multiple worlds may be a good idea.
var worldAABB:b2AABB = new b2AABB();
worldAABB.lowerBound.Set(-1000.0, -1000.0);
worldAABB.upperBound.Set(1000.0, 1000.0);
var gravity:b2Vec2 = new b2Vec2(0.0, 100.0);
m_world = new b2World(worldAABB, gravity, false);

var body:b2Body;
body = createBody(m_width / 2.0, m_height - 50.0, m_width, 8.0, 0.0, false, null);
body = createBody(-4, m_height * 0.5, 8, m_height, 0.0, false, null);
body = createBody(m_height+4, m_height*0.5, 8, m_height, 0.0, false, null);

body = createBody(m_width / 2.0, 100.0, 64.0, 64.0, 1.0, true, imgBox);
body.SetAngularVelocity(Math.random() * 4.0);

body = createBody(m_width / 2.0 + 100, 100.0, 64.0, 64.0, 1.0, true, imgBox);
body.SetAngularVelocity(Math.random() * 4.0);

body = createBody(m_width / 2.0 - 100, 100.0, 64.0, 64.0, 1.0, true, imgBox);

removeEventListener(Event.ADDED_TO_STAGE, init);
addEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, Tick);
}

private function Tick(_event:Event = null):void {
var i:int;
var body:b2Body;
var sprite:Bitmap;

for (i = 0; i < m_bodies.length; i++) {
body = m_bodies;
sprite = body.GetUserData();
if (sprite != null) {
var matrix:Matrix = new Matrix();
// Offset so origin is at center of box. Then it makes sense to rotate, and then translate.
// This is necessary because the position of a Bitmap is actually the top left corner.
matrix.translate( -sprite.bitmapData.width*0.5, -sprite.bitmapData.height*0.5 );
matrix.rotate(body.GetAngle());
matrix.translate(body.GetPosition().x, body.GetPosition().y);
sprite.transform.matrix = matrix;
}
}

// Integrate the physics objects.
// * Change the 2.0 to anything if you want to make the physics simulation run faster.
// Yes, it is incorrect for me to be running the physics simulation at twice the speed, but it is an approximation of the real world anyways.
// * Change the 5 to an integer greater if you want to improve the reliability of the physics simulation at the cost of performance.
m_world.Step(m_dt * 2.0, 5);
m_time += m_dt;
}
}
}






physicstest.swf

Download: physicstest.zip

The project file can be opened with FlashDevelop, which is an Action Script editor. I installed a trial version of Adobe Flash for the FLEX SDK and then I installed Flash Develop. It worked for me, I hope it works for you. Sometimes the boxes vibrate.. anyone know a fix for that? Anyways, let me know if you have any questions or troubles.
dx elliot

More progress

I did some more progress on the game. The house goes back to the main menu, the 123 toggles the digits, and the egg "scrambles" the puzzle (lol). I only have time to work on this game bit by bit, but I can say that I am having fun with it. :)

dx elliot

Framework on Mac Mini

My Mac Mini and first generation iPod Touch I bought for game development more than a year ago had been sitting around idle until now. I needed to upgrade to Snow Leopard so that I could register as an individual developer and download the SDK. Then I found out that first generation iPod Touch devices are no longer compatible for app development.. HmmM?? I'll upgrade that too, but for now I can just use the emulator:



I decided to make my first game a slider puzzle game. It has been relatively easy so far. Interestingly, the iPod and iPad have different aspect ratios so I occasionally switch the emulator to ensure things are getting drawn correctly.
dx elliot

More pictures

Here are three more pictures I did. I only have one left to make a total of eight. What do you all think I should do? Hanukkah? I have already done Kwanzaa and a winter scene with a church.

(If you didn't read the previous post, these are for a jigsaw puzzle game)










dx elliot
This year I want to make some games for the Apple marketplace. I have decided that Christmas games will be fun to make. To any sane developer this would seem like a really bad idea because Christmas games only sell one time of the year, but at the same time it motivates me with a deadline set in stone. I will only be charging 99 cents for each Christmas game I make, so I hope to make at least enough money to pay for this:




Corel Painter X. I already bought the Wacom Bamboo.

I am a graphics programmer by trade, but a couple months ago I got very interested in drawing and painting with acrylics. The articles on color theory from an artist's perspective is so different than ones for graphics researchers, so the new perspective has already been rewarding (for example: four page article on light).

I used up a 30 day trial of Photoshop, but a standalone copy is outrageously expensive for someone doing this as a side hobby. GIMP is free and ok, but I can't be bothered with hunting down brushes or making my own. The Wacom Bamboo came with Painter essentials, but I would prefer to pay money for something better. I downloaded a trial of Painter 11 and came to appreciate its brush system. It has about a thousand brushes and each is so different, including the ones that do nothing but blend colors on the canvas. I really like its color picking pyramid and its price is reasonable. I downgraded to a trial of version X which I will buy instead - it has pretty much everything I need from 11 and is less expensive. Version 12 is probably going to be out soon anyways.

My first game will be a jigsaw puzzle game with a Christmas theme on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, you name it. I reserved some time to do one picture every two days. So far I have these:









Currently I use mostly the chunky oil pastel brush in Painter with a grainy blender + round blender combo to blend colors. It works well. If I get bored then I could always switch to water colors or something.

I am creating four more pictures because I figure eight Christmas jigsaw puzzles in a single app should be enough.
dx elliot

Hi all!

Hello everyone! I decided to become a GDNet Plus member to maintain a journal of my side projects. A little background about me, my name is Elliot and I have been a member of this site for about six years. In a nutshell I graduated from college and have been working as a full time graphics programmer for a year and a half. Anyways, I just wanted to give a friendly hello! More on my side projects in a bit...
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