Thursday, April 27, 2006

Of Python, Leftrunner, and Nintendo: A Teaser

I should mention - I'm taking a Game Programming class. It's put both of my main projects on temporary standby, as I have to make a new game for the class. In Python, which I have never worked with before.

Python is kind of strange, by which I mean not like C++ at all. The lack of typed variables took some getting used to, particularly with regards to instantiating things. It took me a damn long time to do something as simple as creating a large, empty array. The syntax is fine, although I don't much care for the enforced whitespace.
Really, I think my biggest problem with Python is that I'm trying to make it be C++. My code looks like C code, only with different punctuation and more convoluted. Maybe someday I'll have some shining revelation and Python will suddenly all make sense, and I'll be pouring out code that my current, lesser self would only be able to squint at in confusion... but I don't think that's very likely. Realistically, I'll probably get through the class, then forget about Python for a long time, giving it another try in the distant future.

The game I'm making for this class is sort of a Tetrisy kind of thing, which is hard to explain in text. So, you don't get to know much about it until I feel like releasing an Alpha of it. For the title, I'm tilting back and forth between Dharma and Zii.

On another front, I've been throwing ideas around fast and furiously on another website regarding a game I might be working on with someone else. The working title of the project is Leftrunner. The idea revolves around a character who is constantly, automatically running to the left, fighting enemies and building speed. Combat would be largely focused on knocking enemies down and trampling them. There's really alot more to the concept, but I'm not going to go into further detail about it until 1) I can devote an entire entry to it, and 2) I know for sure that it's actually going to get started. Stay tuned!

On a last note, Nintendo recently revealed the final name for their next console: The Wii. It's weird, it makes you feel like kind of an idiot when you say it, it's kind of unclear how it's pronounced. Nevertheless, it's been steadily growing on me since I heard it. I support it for three main reasons: It's easy to remember, it opens up the floodgates for a thousand horrible puns, and it made the rest of the internet furious. I am wholeheartedly in favor of anything that causes mass, harmless, digital mayhem.

I have a midterm tomorrow. So, I now bid you all adieu.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Fission Mailed: Ressurection

Hey, I'm still alive! Fancy that.

The last two months were a break from programming. The quarter is over, I'm taking a lighter load of classes, so I'm back into the development spiral. I'm not ready to pick Extinguish back up yet, but I have two new projects.

The first project is my feeble first attempts to write a Roguelike. I've never tried this before, so this particular project is more of an self-teaching excersize than a full-fledged game. After I finish this, I may start over and make a proper game in the genre. My engine is not particularly elaborate yet, allowing for little more than moving around the map and opening/closing doors. I'll talk about this one in more detail once it gets going.

The other project was inspired largely by the vast amount of time I've spent playing N. This game has brought be nothing but fury and woe with its brutal difficulty and unforgiving nature. After a while, I began to ask myself: Why am I still playing this? Why is this stage so compelling after the 80th time I've died on it? Rather than find a reasonable answer to these questions, I decided to make a sadistic platformer of my own. It will use a simple (and incomplete) platforming engine I made a while back called Vertical, and will heavily emphasize use of a grappling hook for getting around. Beyond this, I have little planned, except that it will include enemies with fairly basic AI (although they will not be the main emphasis of the game, as our hero will have no weapons), and movable objects that will interact with the world using some decently complex physics.

The moral of the story: I'm alive, kicking, and coding. Expect more updates in the future.

Until then, enjoy a simple demo of the Vertical engine.