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Making Patches and Expansion Packs

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In short, I want to know how to make patches and expansion packs for a game I''m writing right now. Is there anything I need to write into the code now to allow for changes later? Should I even bother with expansions, or should I just release a new version of the game? -NeoMage

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Lol... I bet nobody is gonna reply to this string after I give you this piece of info... I''m using VB6.

Now I have no idea what plugin-systems are, so if you read this and think,"Holy crap. He''s an idiot." that''s why. I flipped open my four VB books here, and looked in the indexes, and I couldn''t find "plugin", then I went to Dogpile.com and searched for "plugin-systems", and I couldn''t find anything. What is it? Is it a C++ thing?

-NeoMage

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quote:
Original post by NeoMage
Now I have no idea what plugin-systems are, so if you read this and think,"Holy crap. He''s an idiot." that''s why. I flipped open my four VB books here, and looked in the indexes, and I couldn''t find "plugin", then I went to Dogpile.com and searched for "plugin-systems", and I couldn''t find anything. What is it? Is it a C++ thing?

-NeoMage

Hehe, "plugin-system" is a game specific term, not a real technical\programming term, so you won''t find it in your VB books. What you probably want to look for is DLLs (dynamic link libraries), although you can implement plugabble components into your program with a lot of other methods (scripting languages for example.) Most of your game should be data driven anyway (levels, artwork, etc.) so it could be something as simple as adding another map file to the games maps directory.

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*Bashes head against desk* I feel like an idiot. lol. Okay, now it makes more sense. DLL''s huh? Crap. I hate DDL''s.

Well, as most people have probably guessed, I''m pretty new to the whole programming thing, so I invariably do things in a less conventional, and probably clunkier way than they should be done.

I have it set up so the keys "w", "a", "s", & "d" are used for movement, because I couldn''t figure out how to get the freakin arrow keys to work. The player can move from tile to tile. (Primitive, I know, but like I said... I''m a newbie) Anyway, I set it up so that each tile has four variables that determine which directions the player can move in from that tile. If one variable = false, then the player can''t move in that direction (obviously). Eventually, I would end up with a "grid" of tiles with four variables each, and I would just have to tweak the tiles that block the players movement in certain directions, and tweak the tiles that are used for stairs or portals.

I know that''s probably a very unorthodox way of doing it, but with my programming knowledge and experience being as limited as they are, it made the most sense to me.

That''s what I''m dealing with right now. I tried using tile based game tutorials I found on the web, but the way they were explained was horrendous, so I set off on my own and tried to find my own way.

So is it still possible to use DLL''s if I did it this way?

-NeoMage

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I''ll warn you right now that VB + DLLs can give you real headaches.

COM plugins require COM registration, which is something I like to avoid so that you don''t give your user 50 million ActiveX controls. Regular DLLs are a good choice...except for one little VB hitch. VB doesn''t include the App.Path as a DLL search path, nor does it use the current directory, so any DLLs you want to use have to be in the System/System32 directories. This is equally annoying.

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Yeah... I''ve been looking up DLL''s and all that, and I found out how to make them... using C! Which I not only don''t know, I absolutely hate it too. Plus the little tutorial I found tells you how to make that irritating beeping noise, which is worthless to me, because I basically want to be able to add code to certain parts of the program after it''s compiled. I don''t know what I''m going to do.

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Whoa, slow down - how big is your executable file at the moment? For most non-trivial games (ie, bigger than tetris) the file size of the exe is vastly smaller than all the resources (images, sounds etc.). If its just you releasing patches or upgrades for a game, then its probably *much* simpler to provide a totally new exe and leave all the resources as before. And if you''re worried about the user doing that manually then wrap the whole thing in a nice patching program.

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Well, at the moment the file is very small, but only because I haven''t actually patched the whole beast together. It''s a low graphic rpg with a lot of text stuff. It''s pretty primitive like I''ve already mentioned, but I''m adding certain elements and developing things that should really help with the feel of it. And don''t everyone junp on me about making an rpg as my first significant program. It''s NOT that hard. I have a lot of stuff written out in word and all that, I just need to pop it all into VB6. It will eventually be a pretty big creature, and I wanted to be able to add on more "maps" etc. later, but I''ll probably just pop out a new version with a more visual interface, and more features etc.

If I could actually get a good tile based game tutorial I would do that, but I haven''t found any good one''s yet. Well, not any for VB6 anyway.

-NeoMage

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Well, I decided to take the cheap way out. I downloaded PatchWise Free and EmbryoPatcher. If anybody else is interested in finding an EASY wa to make patches, I''d recommend PatchWise Free.

-NeoMage

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