From the chronicles of: Contest Journal..
That's right, folks. Be sure to hold onto your hats, because Admiral Overalls -- a suspiciously similar character to the infamous Commander Keen -- is making his debut at the end of June. :)
The game will play a lot like the classic 16-colour DOS PC platformer, with cool levels, cool features, and really lame sound effects. The main idea is to get together a really solid, functional, but not overly flashy game together. I've found that focusing too much on glitz *pokes at the 3D entries :P* is the road to incompletion, or an unpolished entry. Platformers are fairly simple in general, and I've written a tile engine and sprite manager over 50 flippin' times, so no problems there.
Admiral Overalls will wield his trusty slingshot, ready to unload countless rounds of tomatoes from his trusty tomato-basket (not drawn yet :P) upon his back. His mission: to recover the energy-crystals spread out across the hostile alien world he haphazardously landed on, in order to escape from their clutches back to Earth!
It's almost so corny it's cool!!
The SpriteManager class is now written, and is more or less fully functional. The Player class derives from the generic Sprite class, enabling user-input in order to walk left/right, and allow our hero to jump (fully affected by gravity). The spaceship was tossed in there for fun, the graphic being from another project, but we may 16-colour-ify it and use it for the Admiral's spaceship. :)
The standing animation is as far as Draffurd has right now, but it looks infinitely better than my hideous placeholder art, which I will not post here lest you gouge your own eyeballs. :P
The map is also still semi-random, providing a few interesting jumps around before getting stuck in a pit somewhere in that random rubble. The map editor is the next item on the list, so the screenshots will hopefully get more exciting, hehe. And of course, kudos to Draffurd on his awesome tiles, and really cool cloud-city backdrop!
(How do you plan on getting out of THIS one, Admiral Overalls?)
Visual C# Express Banter
Generics are really cool. The List<> generic makes life massively easier compared to the boxing/unboxing hell of .NET 1.1 and its coveted ArrayList class. I'm also using the Dictionary<> generic in the SpriteManager too, in order to refer to loaded images by name instead of memorizing obscure index numbers. VC# Express is doing a wonderful job of boosting productivity. If I were using SharpDevelop or another 3rd party IDE, I'd likely still be only half as far as I am now.
If I had to complain about *something*, it'd be how Intellisense likes to pop-up after every modifier keyword preceeding a function. Typing out 'public virtual static void OnUpdate()' makes me wade through like five Intellisense popups as I go. Arg!
Not a huge update, since the Admiral (above) is taking up most of my development time. I added a neat feature onto the "Host a Game" window that displays cool map information about each map as you click on it, so the host-to-be can get a better idea of what the map is like. Eventually it'll include a cool thumbnail of the whole map, but let's not push it. :P
(This is done by simply loading in the map file on-demand and filtering out the appropriate data. Not pretty, but it works, and with virtually no delay!)
Today I scooted over to the University of Waterloo (the uni I'll be attending this Fall) to check out the campus and get a feel for the place.
The tour was pretty good. We had a nice guide named Justin, which the our tour guide comedically called Jason most of the time. Our group did a LOT of walking (3.5 hours :P) around the huge place, visiting one of the residences, student services, and one of the science buildings. Afterwards I also got a personalized tour of the Faculty of Mathematics building. Cool! They had a lot of neat specialized stuff, like the most advanced cryptology/optimization course in the country, and the only University in Ontario that offers a neat 'real-time programming' course on managing trains (ie. not asploding them :P). And a HUGE room full of servers that we passed. Groovy.
I also checked out what my course-load was looking like. Mind you, I'm taking Computer Science *with* the Co-Op option, so I'm essentially looking at five years at this University. I've got 6 work-terms (Co-Op) that are 4-months each, which is 2 years of just full-time work alone, and then the other ~3 years of actual classes. All spread across evenly, not in those big chunks. :P
There's lots of cool classes to choose from. The first term I'll be taking Algebra, Calculus, a neat programming course on functional programming (with Scheme), and two electives. Philosophy and Japanese might be neat ones.
So anyways, that's enough babbling on my end. Long story short: I'm extremely pumped about going to University this fall. It's going to be nothing short of kickarse. [grin]