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James Read

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About James Read

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    Game Designer
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  1. James Read

    Quick Update - Map: Cell of Escape

    Over the last few updates on this blog, I’ve mainly been talking about the technical parts of implementing Greyvar. Code, map editors, that sort of thing. I wanted show a little bit of what the gameplay might look like. This screenshot below shows what I hope will be the first concept map. I’ve got 4 maps at the moment - one was a large island that was far too ambitious to start off with (shown in quite a few screenshots already). One of those is a debug map (see last blog post). Anyway, the map below contains enough of the basic Greyvar concepts to test gameplay. There are buttons which (will soon) fire off triggers, there are animated paintings… (!), there are chests, keys, and, well, hopefully you can make out the rest! Useful links; Greyvar main website Greyvar on YouTube Greyvar on Discord Greyvar project page on Gamedev.net;
  2. James Read


    Greyvar is a casual pace multiplayer co-op puzzle game. Weird and wonderful worlds of puzzles that include quests, logic puzzles, tower defence, building, farming, and exploration in a 8-bit art style. Casual - No health bars, no time limits, this is the sort of game you can play to de-stress and chill out with a friend! Multiplayer co-op - Online/LAN and Local shared-screen Puzzles - Every world has new an interesting puzzles, inspired by lots of gaming genres. You can create your own worlds with the world editor too! 8-Bit art style - because 8-bit is awesome Cross-platform - works on Linux and Windows for now. Controller support - XBox 360 controller tested so far Open Source - Because Open Source is great :). This means there will always be a free version available. Maybe there will be paid distributions of it in the future though. Learn more at http://greyvar.github.io ! Please follow/comment, it helps out a lot and it's just great to see your interest!
  3. James Read

    Visualization of recent changes

    Over the last month or so I’ve been working on Greyvar a whole bunch, on many things from the network code, to the graphical user inteface, the input system, the map editor, entity support, and much more. However, None of these systems are really in a position that I can write a single blog post about them. Therefore, let me post a quick update that visualizes the source code changes recently./nm Each little circle is a file that makes up Greyvar, and if you see the video, you can get an idea of the rate of change in the code base. I produced this visualisation with Gource, which is free software if you want to run it against your code base too. Try it yourself: http://gource.io Useful links; Greyvar main website Greyvar on YouTube Greyvar on Discord Greyvar project page on Gamedev.net;
  4. James Read

    Entity layer in the map editor

    Entities are things that the player can interact with; chests, signs, TV’s (!), buttons, pressure pads and that sort of thing. I just added support for these in the map editor and wanted to tell you a bit more about it! Up until now, the screenshots you’ve seen have had what look like entities, but they’re actually just flat tiles - part of the background layer. I cheated by drawing a sign with a grass texture in the background, for example. I found this useful to get something that looked visually convincing for the time being, but now I needed to fix it. The problem was that if I wanted to re-use a sign, and put it on darker grass, on a castle, or somewhere else, I’d end up with it still having the background texture it was drawn with, so it would look like this; Well that looks no good. Okay, a simple way around this would be to re-draw the sign onto multiple different backgrounds, creating multiple different textures. This is simple, but it’s very time consuming. I want to save myself some time! Looking at the menu now, you can see support for layers here - including fluids (that doesn’t do anything yet). Switching to the entity layer will “grey out” the background, so that I know I’m in entity mode; Then, using the new entity panel on the sidebar, can select entities in much the same way as textures; Finally, lets paint those entities onto many backgrounds - signs, chests and cake for everyone! This is of course just a simple feature that is in nearly all games. I just wanted to show you my implementation, because I managed to code it up and get it working nicely in just one evening. This required some pretty big changes in the map editor actually, including storing multiple texture caches, and messing a around with the UI. While it felt like a bit of a disruptive change (I almost gave up half way through), it now will save me a whole bunch of time in the long run. When developing indie games, long term time saving is everything. Useful links; Greyvar main website Greyvar on YouTube Greyvar on Discord Greyvar project page on Gamedev.net;
  5. James Read

    Introducing the map editor

    Hi @jbadams, thanks for the comment & follow, it means a lot to see feedback There are just two other blog entries so far, which I have posted on the Greyvar website, here https://greyvar.github.io . These two other entries are a quick "hello world", and one about building 8-bit houses... I won't re-post them here on Gamedev.net because I don't want to spam the site when I've just joined. But for sure I'll be re-posting future articles on the main website, and here on Gamedev.net. I've added some useful links to the bottom of the blog article too. The main website is starting to mature, and while the focus on blog articles for a while will be technical, I hope to share more details about the core game design, it's mechanics and gameplay further down the line. Thanks again!
  6. James Read

    Introducing the map editor

    So it’s been just over a month since my last update (first update on Gamedev.net, hello there!), and what a month! I’ve spent a bunch of time travelling, busy with work, and various other stuff. But it’s been great fun to squeeze in some time for Greyvar in the evenings when I can. I even set about creating a couple of new textures on a plane, just to sqeeze so time in, working mostly on some indoor assets; But I wanted to take most of the time in this update to talk about the map editor. Funnily enough, the map editor is something I started years and years ago, when I just wanted to have a fiddle with tile-based map editing. It grew and grew, and is largely became a reason for me making Greyvar in the first place. Here’s what the map editor looks like today, showing one of the debug maps I use to check for texture alignment, and trying to get the right perspective on textures too; As you can see, it’s a desktop based Java application. You can create individual maps (“grids”) in it, and I recently added support for “worlds” - which are many grids connected to each other. Making these grids is point and click, selecting textures from the texture viewer (below), and painting them much like you would do with pixel art. The editor is pretty functional today for making grids, but where it needs to go in the future is; Support for multiple “layers” - at the moment it can paint the background, but it should have support for; Background Layer Entity Layer (enemies, players, pickups, etc) Fluid Layer (water, lava, slime, etc) Writing grids as Yaml files. At the moment the grids are CSV files. It was OK to start off with, but really I need a file format with more structure today. Support for editing other areas of the game - rules, triggers, that sort of thing. Over the next month or so, I’ll continue to work on Yaml save support for the maps, and then Yaml loading on the server side (eugh, all the fun stuff!). Once that is done, it’s back to Multiplayer support and some polish on the input handling side. Then we can start working on basic game mechanics - that’s the fun stuff! Useful links; Greyvar main website Greyvar on YouTube Greyvar on Discord Greyvar project page on Gamedev.net;
  7. James Read


    Album for Greyvar
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