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A Long Belated Update

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Sir Sapo


Hey Everyone!

Unfortunately, I haven't updated my journal in quite a while, so here's my catch-up entry!

The Tank Game
Well, Mark and I have thrown in the towel regarding the tank game we were making. Mark didn't want to draw anymore tanks, and I didn't want to write any code, so we've decided to not proceed any farther on that project. Fortunately, the project was not a complete loss, as it was the first time I extensively used polymorphism and STL throughout a project, and it gave me some much needed experience regarding those subjects, but more on that later.

And so it doesn't go to waste, here's the last tank sprite Mark threw together (Sorry for the black background)

The New Game
Our new project is one that we have been thinking about for quite a long time now, but never felt that we could actually finish it, but now that my coding skills have been honed(ish), we are going to try for it. The new project is a Turn-Based Space Strategy Game. We don't have a story yet, and we're just starting to flesh out the combat engine, but I've dove headfirst into coding, and taken a huge chunk out of the boring framework portion of the game development cycle. And here's a screen of the "prototype" version "in action". It's just a console app, but alot of crap is going on behind the scenes.

I'm excited about this new project because I'm planning on making it multiplayer over a network using RakNet. RakNet is IMHO the best thing since sliced bread. It's so easy to use and set up, that I had it integrated into the Strategy Game Framework in about 10 minutes.

Mark has begun drawing some preliminary artwork, and here's an unfinished battleship unit he's putting together.

The Coding Front
On the coding front, I (re)learned a valuable lesson today, Copy and Paste is bad. The database system I wrote for the Strategy Game was ripped straight from the tank game. The system worked by reading in variables from a text file and then loading up a game map using those variables. Well, in this system, order matters, and there was this crappy bug that kept messing up all of the maps I tried to load. After ~5 hours of tweaking and debugging, I found the problem, in my code I tried to read in a variable that was from the tank game, but in the data file that variable was not present, which threw off the map loading routine and completely butchered the maps. The Moral of my story? Don't copy and paste huge chunks of specialized code, it just isn't worth the time it takes to track down the little bugs it creates.

Today I went flying for the first time in about a month. I flew a Piper Cherokee, an airplane I had never flown before (Always an exciting experience). It was quite a step up from my little 1941 J-3 Cub. The Cherokee cruises 40 MPH faster, lands 30MPH faster, everything just happens faster, but it's a good learning experience, and I'm happy with the whole thing, and If I keep up my current schedule, I should be getting my Private Pilot License before March!

Anywho, I'll talk to you guys later!

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@Evolutional - Yeah, he knows his stuff, after a year of drawing sprites using only MS Paint, he's gotten pretty good at it[grin]

@HopeDagger - While I don't see why not, I'll have to talk to Mark about that, he may have some plan or something[wink]

Thanks for the comments!

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That's in MS Paint?

I envy your artist. You should do some passes through it in GIMP to add weather wear and pock-marks; I find it gives a lot of character to the sprite. I use the "Scatter HSV" function a lot to add a bit of dirt, and then manually dodge and burn out some pock-marks.

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Yeah, when we first started making games, that's all we had available to us, and he got really good at it, so now, even though we have photoshop and GIMP, he still prefers to do it pixel by pixel in MS Paint. He even drew the title screen to one of our game in 1024x768 resolution in Paint Clicky.

Thanks for the tips for the GIMP, I'll tell the artist to try them out.

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