Tutorial 02 Online
Tutorial 02 is now up. I'll try to complete one of these every week or so. I think I did a sufficient job commenting the source code to my games, enough at least to explain how they work. I guess then the purpose for writing these tutorials is to explain how I came up with the design of the game, and the stages of its development. When I complete all the tutorials and get some feedback, I'll make a public announcement in the beginners forum.
Things I Want To Explore In the Future
Since finishing my first five games, I've been considering my next project. I want to explore many areas in game development.
2D Tricks. I want to learn how to make those 2D demo effects that used to be popular in the old days. Like bobs, 3D bobs, flames, flags, lenses, emboss, lighting, bump-mapping, screen melts and crazy animated text demos. I'm particularly interested in psuedo 3D effects. There's a collection of demo effects that I want to study sometime.
Network Play. I already know how to program network sockets and implement the basic client-server model. I was thinking of making a space melee game in the vein of Star Control but with asteroids. So its really a two player vs derivative of Asteroids. Choose or upload a pic of your ship's sprite image and select your weapon and special ablitly. Some of these abilities could take advantage of surrounding asteroid debris. The game could dynamically zoom in and out of the action. It could also actually be fun.
Doing a quick search revealed that Star Control 2 has been open sourced. Its really the 3DO port only, but you can download the gfx pack, containing the ship sprites. I wonder if the licence extends to fair use of these too?
Scrolling SHMUP. Why do these games look easier to make than they really are? I know in the future I will make a sci-fi shooter like R-Type and Gradius. I really, really would like one day to be acredited for producing a SHMUP as fun and cool looking as Treasure's Radiant Silver Gun and Ikaruga. I first have to catch up with FenrirWolf's work.
But I may just temporarily put all this on hold. Continue reading.
Revenge of Johnny 5: Zombie Hunter.
Maybe I should explain what this is:
Its Johnny 5 the living robot from Short Circut 2, with eye-patch and mohawk, holding the sword (and human hand apparently) from Revenge of Shinobi, impailing the decapated, bloody head of a zombie. Now you know I've gotta be thinking about 4e4 this week.
Four Elements IV
It appears I arrived in time for this long awaited Four Elements IV contest. The last Four Elements contest took place 3 years ago. The next big contest at gamedev may not happen for a long time. So what should I do? Do I let this one go by because I'm not ready? I've never designed an original game. I've never even imagined of making an original game (I mean one of my ultimate goals is to make a SHMUP like R-Type!).
As overly ambitious it may sound, with just 5 simple games behind me, I will try to make an entry for 4e4. As I said in my first ever post on gamedev.net: I waited too long for this. After all, why shouldn't my first real game not have ninjas, zombies, robots and pirates?!
To pull this off, I will need to take advantage of every little flexability the contest rules allow and overcome any defeciency in my skill or expereince with creativity (I know I have some somewhere). I will also have to be realisitc with my goals; I will not win. Instead I will aim to fully complete an entry by myself and then make it to the top 40%. Thats already too hard!
So what's my strategy? I haven't fully explored it yet, but here's a break down off the top of my head:
Technical: Stability, Use of Technology, Speed.
I lose in technology because my knowledge is limited, so I have to make up in stablity and speed. I will have to depend on Java again, or use a rock-stable RAD tool, game library or scriptable game engine. The game should be built on proven and tested frameworks.
Creativity: Game Design, Artwork, Technical methods
If my game design is correct, it will qualify. Period. Not only will all 4 elements be equally reperesented, but they will play and feel like players expect them to. Making the ninja kill a zombie with ninja stars and steal things is a good example. Making a ninja compete against a zombie in a pizza pie making contest (although funny) is a bad example.
I think the judges here will be able to recognize a sprite from Spritelib, or a 3D model from 3D Cafe. I want to try and make my own art. I must have some artistic talent hidden somewhere, I did create that logo above and I did design my cousins website. I'll just use the most minimalistic style possible, without looking like bad cartoon sketches. I do care about how my games look.
Next week, I'm gonna try to excecise my artistic skills, and read some tutorials here on gamedev.net. I may pop into the art and design forums and ask for advice or maybe even help.
Fun: The Hook factor, Gameplay Quality.
I don't have to worry about the Judges not wanting to play the game. I just have to keep the game from getting boring too quickly. The judge isn't going to play the game from beginning to end, right? I'll try to make the first five or ten minutes of the game the least boring as possible.
Polish: Presentation, Installation.
As long as the game looks complete, and doesn't appear like a half-finished demo, I have little to worry about polish. I guess a nice and clean menu system and splash screen will make judges happy in the presentation area. I can't do much else.
Kudos Points: Obvious efforts to go above and beyond the contest requirements.
Wow, how will I earn these? Here are some ideas:
1. Make the game multiplayer. I wanted to make a multiplayer game anyways.
2. Make from scratch, no 3rd party tools/libraries. Extra testing.
3. Equally represent Robots, Pirates, Ninjas and Zombies as well as Water, Wind, Earth and Fire. Hmm.
I could also improve my odds by submitting multiple entries. In the last month I created 5 simple but fun arcade games. What if by the 4e4's deadline I created 25 similariy simple but qualifying entries? The judges will hate me thats what.
Finally, I won't keep any of my work secret. It will all be published here. Nobody's going to be tracking me down for good game ideas. I'm just a newbie. Those who care to read this journal will likely be those who want to support and help me. I shouldn't be afraid of being ripped off by these people. I should infact be afraid of ripping-off someone else's work, with all these clones I've made and intend to make. So being open in this case is a safety measure too.