Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Emergency 100-in-1 Klik & Play Pirate Kart Meltdown

I'll update the status with my other projects in the morning, but for now:

I was just involved in a sensational undertaking.

Some of you may be familiar with TIGsource and their currently-running B-Games Competition. It was something I was sort of vaguely interested in, but didn't feel the urge to actually participate in... until the 100-in-1 Klik & Play Pirate Kart surfaced.

The idea behind the 100-in-1 Klik & Play Pirate Kart is that a team of people would get together, and create 100 games using the archaic game-making tool, Klik & Play. The caveat is that they had a mere 48 hours in which to make all 100 of them.

Those 48 hours just ended. I was on that team.

It was a hell of a ride! The games are fairly universally awful, but many of them are endearing despite (or perhaps because of) this. I made 21 of them myself, making me the TOP CONTRIBUTOR in sheer quantity.

Anyways, without further ado, here is the list of my contributions to the Kart, in chronological order:

WARNING: These are not good games. Do not play them if you are expecting a solid, balanced gaming experience. Expect incoherent mechanics, wildly uneven difficulty, and horrible MIDI music.

Sideways Man Adventures: A game about eating sideways pizzas, but not normal ones.
Triangle Crosser: A game about crossing over a triangle many times.
Climb King: A game about going upwards to get treasure.
Spindizzy: A game about something, but I'm not sure what.
Finger Smashes: A game about controlling a magic flying hammer.
Pie Boy: A game about avoiding lasers to get pies.
Staircase!: A game about going up and down stairs while under attack by rain.
Clickity Clickit: A game about clicking.
Truck VS Ghost: A game about fighting ghosts.
Ghost VS Truck: A game about fleeing ghosts.
Too Many Cheerios: A game about cereal out of control.
Happy With Sad: A game about prejudice.
Help the Laser Wizard: A game about playing second fiddle to a great wizard.
Climb King Lite: A game that's easier than Climb King.
Dueling Sandwiches: A game about the triumph of good over evil.
Keys Keys Keys: A game about unlocking doors, usually.
Happy With Sad Turbo Deluxe: A game that's harder than Happy With Sad.
Super Slow Motion Asteroid Runner: A game that is about squeezing between deadly objects.
Arrow Arrow Revolution: A game that doesn't really have much to do with Dance Dance Revolution.
Click on a Chair Holy Crap Limited Edition: A game that costs $49.95*.
100 Robots: A game about celebrating a hundred games made in a single weekend.
*not really!

You need Knpg.dll and Knps.dll to run these - my advice is to install the free version of Klik & Play, which should come with both. Happy playing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I just recieved an email from a fan that made me realize something about Vertical in general.

Why can't it control by mouse?

I'm kind of surprised I didn't think of this before, really. WASD to move, left click to rope, right click to jump. Something like that. It could really work!

Basically, whenever I release my next version, expect a couple new control schemes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Millions of Years Later

Vertical Challenge v0.3a

Sorry for the delays, I fell into a bit of a programming lull, and got a job. Anyways, back on track, here's the new version, and it's got some nice new touches:
-There are new Checkpoint blocks that save your progress when you touch them. Makes long levels much less annoying.
-The hit detection is a bit tighter, but just a bit.
-There are multiple stages! Eight, to be exact. I'm sorry about the difficulty of some of the later ones, this is sort of a random cross-section of the stages that will be included in the final game, so the curve is a bit steep.

Stuff planned:
-Laser beams!
-Moving blocks!
-Like a bunch more levels, and a more interesting level selection/unlocking system!

Also, I'd like some input - what about the current game is fun? More importantly, what is NOT fun about it? I'd like to make whatever changes will make it more fun to play, so I'm all ears.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

He Delivers, Folks

Vertical Challenge v0.1a

Wow, that was fast!
Things of note:
-The yellow diamonds are your targets. You must collect every one to win.
-The game is a little frustrating at this stage. Next version will have checkpoint blocks, although I'm not sure how to tie in the whole speedrunning aspect with that.
-It looks good! New block graphics by Select Button's MrBusiness.

Plans have changed

First off, the creator of the Three Hundred Ideas page has given up. I'm not gonna launch into a discussion of whether this is good or bad here, and would ask you not to do so in the comments. That's not what this blog or even this blog post is about. It's his choice.

He mentioned in his final post that he was going to start implementing his ideas, so I'm going to leave them to him. Instead, I'm going to be going back to one of my older, more potential-wasting projects: Vertical.

I'm going to make it a game this time. Not a toy, or an exercise in meditation, but a full game. The general format will be closed stages containing a number of Targets that the player needs to hit with his character. The faster, the better - the game will keep time records, but I don't think there'll be a time limit. Those are just annoying.

To spice things up, I'm going to add several new obstacles, including ways to actually die. The current planned list includes:
-Tiles that kill you upon contact (Spikes, probably)
-Tiles that the grapple bounces off of without sticking to
-Tiles that the player can freely pass through, but the grapple sticks to like a wall
-Tiles that block the player like a wall, but the grapple can freely pass through
-Moving tiles (possibly including all of the above types)
-Laser beams
-Color-coded buttons to activate/deactivate laser beams

I'n not convinced that there should be enemies, because I don't want to give the player a weapon.

Curently I've modified the Vertical code to pull level data from a file, but that's it. Expect updates forthcoming!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Long overdue catchup post!

Hey, been a while. It's been a slow few months, but I still have a few updates to make.

First: Zombie City Survivors is dead.

Why? Well, let's ignore for a moment the fact that both of my artists have vanished off the face of the Earth. I wanted to make a tactical RPG, where your enemies are mindless
shambling hordes, and you have to deal with ammo conservation and the like.

What the hell was I thinking? I wouldn't play this game, let alone make it. It sounds like a friggin' chore. I have no idea how the mechanics of making combat not tedious and repetitive would work; I just can't imagine the game being fun at all.
Given infinite time and resources, I could probably sort all these problems out and come up with a way to keep the game fresh and interesting. But, honestly, I'd rather cut my losses at this point and go back to freeware until I'm really prepared for a project of this scale. I need a better idea, too.

I know some people may not agree with my decision, but I am permanently abandoning Zombie City Survivors, to move on to newer, more exciting pastures. I'm going to put down the Zombie City name in general for now, possibly permanently. We'll see.

This brings us to the next question: What now?

Well, the answer lies somewhere in here. The guy's making three hundred game mechanic ideas, over the course of three hundred days. He also has an addendum mentioning that anyone can make these games, as long as they give him credit for the idea. I plan to take him up on this offer.

Ideas of most interest to me at this particular moment are Side Scroll Tactics, Time Shock, Net Hacker, The Long Road, Net Infiltrator, and Strategy Brawl. I'll probably narrow it down to one or two of them, possibly a combination of multiple into one game, and get cracking over the summer.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

This Blog Needs More Pictures, Anyway

Sorry for the delay, but it is time for a Super Game Bakedown Retrospective post!
In general, I'm quite happy with the Bakedown. Out of the nineteen total participants (myself included), three games were released! I've already linked to my own, so here are the other two, with download links and the official choice of the Bake of the Down:

Created by SelectButton forum member "!="
This is, in its creator's own words, barely a game. You walk around, explore, collect some things, then have a bizarre final confrontation. The atmosphere and graphical style are both great, though - the game world feels charmingly surreal and alien, especially for such a simple project.

Created by SelectButton forum member 'Takashi'
Bake of the Down
A gorgeous, simplistic space sim. It may not be fully realized, but the gorgeously austere polygon graphics that are reminiscent of the 3D games of the early 90's are fantastic, as is the prospect of constructing an entire planet. There's not alot to do, but simply designing and building your planet is rewarding enough, thanks to the wonderful visuals. Great job!

Anyways, in regards to the Bakedown in general -
-The basic concept. Turns out a month is just the right amount of time to make a simple game.
-Some actual games came out of it!
-People approached it with the right attitude - saying to HELL with procrastination or uncertainty, just make SOMETHING. Several of the people who participated had never tried to make a game before!

-Publicity. There was going to be a website, but due to reasons that I'm not going to go into here, there isn't, and I no longer have access to the domain As a result, the overall scope of the Bakedown was much smaller than I had hoped. If anyone is interested in making a website for it next year, I am very interested in talking to you about it. Contact me.
-The rules still need ironing out. I can't decide what policies to use regarding code reuse - it's turning out to be a much more confusing issue than I had anticipated.

So anyways!
Now that the Bakedown is over, it's time to get back to work on Zombie City Survivors.
Wrong. Well, sort of.
What I need to admit to myself right now is that ZCS will require a number of skills that I do not currently have. However, I know that if I just shelve the project, then I will never get back to it, and it will rot into obscurity. So, I've figured out a middle ground.
I am going to start work on a series of smaller projects, each one involving one skill that I need to acquire before cracking down on ZCS. I don't know how many projects there will be, but I'll need one each for AI in a Tactical RPG Environment, Sprite Billboarding, and Scripting.
The first of these projects will be SSSSRPG, a sort of sequel to RRRRRPG that will take place on a grid-based battlefield, in which enemies will move intelligently in response to the player's movement and actions. This will help when I get to designing the combat engine of ZCS, and need a lot of zombies to be able to fight effectively and without taking too long to calculate their paths.
I'll talk about this more soon.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Game Aftermathdown

Well, the Super Game Bakedown is over now. You've seen my contribution to it already - but what of the others? After all, there were nineteen people racing for the finish line this year. Well, as it turns out, I wasn't the only one to get there! Let's look at the other finalists:

Selectbutton Forum member Takashi created the wonderful Space, in which you mine asteroids to build a planet piece by piece. The mechanics are not all in place, but the graphics are fantastically charming, and it's still fun to muck around with.

Honorary mention goes to !=, who created the demigame bd7007, which seems to be about exploring and picking up objects, then having an incoherent button mashing duel with a triangle. Surreal!

Thanks to all who participated, and I look forwards to whatever works will be spawned from next year's Bakedown.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Overlords v0.5
Fixes a glitch that makes the final boss impossible to beat.
Adds a pause button.
Some other nonsense.
That is all.

The Overlords have taken over

Overlords v0.4

And with this version, I declare Overlords to be a complete game.
New features for this release are four more cities, a proper final boss, interface and AI tweaks, and the last Overlord spell. This is a fairly solid, if simple, game I have got here. I have more I could add, but it would be icing on the cake - this is Overlords, fully formed and fully playable.

If anyone has any ideas for things to add, I will try to squeeze them in the last couple days if I like them.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Overlords v0.3
There are now three different cities, each with a different level of Overlord power. Interface is improved (Hero hollows out as it takes damage and flashes when it can DASH, and enemy name is listed instead of just TARGET HP). On the last city, the Overlord has a new attack.

Due to time constraints, I'm not going to tidy up the Overlord's AI - instead, I've just made it compulsively teleport if it's stuck against a wall. Hack solution, but I'm on a deadline here.

NEXT: Seven more cities! Two more Overlord abilities for the final battle! Woo!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tactical Minor Update Action

Overlords v0.21
Summary of changes:
-Main menu!
-New font.
-Difficulty settings!
-Speed settings?

With that out of the way, I think I have my path set for the rest of the month. It goes something like this:
-Clean up enemy AI a bit. Right now soldiers and the Overlord can get mucked up in corners alot.
-Interface improvements (again, some of xenofur's suggestions).
-Support for multiple maps, unlocked in sequential order (scoring?).
-Multiple levels of Overlord power.
-Finishing touches.

I have nine days left. CAN I DO IT

Saturday, January 20, 2007

An Injection of Fun!

Overlords v0.2
Okay, some changes have been made (including xenofur's suggestion - thanks!), making the endgame much more engaging.
Total changelist:
-The Hero's health has been upped by over 50%, and his speed by 25%. He wasn't quite enoug of a badass in the previous version. Also, he heals 50% faster at allied generators now.
-The Overlord now has three forms - one that only the soldiers (not the Hero) can damage, one that anyone can damage, and one that only the Hero can damage. The last form forces the player to get involved in the battle at least a little, as does the Overlord's new abilities to teleport to the Hero's location, instantly capture adjacent generators, and summon minions around himself.
-There are two new soldier types - Scouts, which have very low HP but are incredibly fast, and Giants, which are very slow but have massive HP and attack power.
-New city again.

I think my next step is going to be to put some actual game structure around it, like a main menu and a GAME OVER screen and all that jazz. Also, difficulty levels.

I think I'm a big behind schedule, but I'll survive!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Overlord Cometh

Overlords v0.11
Now with our very first Overlord! With a whopping 128 HP and the ability to plow through most soldiers without slowing down, it should raise the tension for the endgame a bit. Also, a new type of soldier (Bravos - normal soldiers with more HP and attack power), and a special Dash attack for the hero (hold Z and press a direction - consumes 10 MP).

I'm currently pondering how to balance the endgame, starting when the Overlord emerges. As it is, the best strategy for the endgame seems to be to run away from him until your minions take him out, which isn't exactly exciting. I'll see how it is once I give him the ability to summon bravos or teleport near the Hero.

Progress continues!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Holy Gameplay, Batman!

Overlords v0.1
The game is FAR from complete, but here is a general idea of what the gameplay will be like!
Left to do:
-Add the Overlord to the endgame
-Add multiple soldier types
-Touch up the interface
-Add some way to see the HP of things other than what you're attacking
-Add special attacks for the player
-Pretty up the HUD
-A zillion other things

But! There it is.

Demo 3 - Chase!

Progress progresses progressively!
Overlords Tech Demo #3: Enemies
Now containing three enemies, loaded from map.dat, who will chase the player around the city semi-intelligently. So far, it looks like the AI is not going to be as hard as I imagined, mostly because I'm not doing any real pathfinding. I'll just have to keep the maps fairly simple.
NEXT STEP - Combat!

Monday, January 08, 2007

DEMO 2 - Alone in the City

Three minor updates today:
1: I have uploaded demo #2 of Overlords, which contains a single Being which can be controlled using the arrow keys.
Overlords Tech Demo #2: Being
2: Zombie City Tactics did NOT make the top ten in the Independent Games Festival Student Showcase Competition. Oh well.
3: There are, to my knowledge, seventeen people currently participating in the '07 Super Game Bakedown. We're growing!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A little late

Okay, so maybe it wasn't later that day, but at least I'm delivering!

Overlords is a game heavily influenced by both Dynasty Warriors and my previous major project, Zombie City Tactics. Each game takes place in a city about 30-60 tiles across, constructed out of walls and Generators. Each generator can either belong to the Player or the Enemy. Generators periodically churn out soldiers, which will automatically move towards and attempt to capture enemy Generators. Different generators can produce different types of soldiers, so controlling the most powerful and well-placed generators can be key to victory.
The player controls one soldier, the Hero, who is exceptionally powerful. His job is to rush into combat and mow down enemy soldiers, pushing them back enough for his allied soldiers to gain victory in battle and move on to capture generators. He will be able to execute some number of special attacks, and recover lost health by resting near allied generators (enemy generators will also restore health to nearby enemy soldiers).
Now, the objective of the game is not necessarily to capture all generators and claim the entire city - that is only a means by which to force the beginning of the endgame. Once the player controls a certain number of generators, one of the remaining enemy generators will produce an Overlord. The Overlord is extremely sturdy and dangerous, with abilities to teleport, summon powerful soldiers around itself, and so on. The Overlord will crash through the allied army on a direct warpath towards the Hero, and attempt to kill him. If the Overlord for a city is defeated, then the game is won. If the Hero is killed first, the game is lost.
Game movement is realtime, but tile-based. Remember Chip's Challenge? Sort of like that, only more action packed. I'm mostly doing it that way because I'm on a time budget, and it'll be much easier to program than letting beings move freely. The player will also possess the ability to command nearby allies in some limited form, but I haven't worked out the details on how that will work yet.

So that's the basics of Overlords. I don't know if it'll be fun or not, but I intend to make it!

Friday, January 05, 2007

A demo appears?!

Man, usually it takes longer than this for me to churn out the first tech demo. But hey, this one isn't very impressive!
Overlords Tech Demo #1: Map (462kb)
-Map data loaded from file
-Camera control (smooth!)
That's it so far, in terms of what the user can see. Next step is to start populating this wacky world.

Incidentally, the final game will not have maps anywhere NEAR this claustrophobic - doing so would force me to give the AI soldiers A* pathfinding, which means boatloads of work for me. I just threw something together in Notepad for the purposes of this demo. Also yes, the title has changed; you'll find out more about that in my next post.

COMING LATER TODAY: Extended post about what the game will be like!

Monday, January 01, 2007


Urghh. I was going to post earlier, but, well. I was going to post as soon as the website for this project was up and running. However, the beginning of the month has come and gone, and the website is still not up yet. I hope for it to be up as soon as possible, but this year is gonna be a fairly minor one because we didn't get the website up in time, so the news hasn't had anywhere to propagate to.

Anyways. We have a new name for our month.
Good bye, NaViGaWriMo.
I'm not going to go into the justifications behind the name, or the definition of the word "bakedown," as those will be explained well enough on the website when it goes up. In the meantime, stop worrying about the name and get to work making your games!

As for me, I have been somewhat lacking in inspiration for my project for the Bakedown, but I think I've got it at last. I'm abandoning both of my themes that I came up with earlier for now, and saving them for another year.
My project for this month is currently running under the working title of "Conquer." It will be a tile-based strategy/action game revolving around two armies being constantly generated and fighting each other over a sprawling city-type area, with the player taking control of a commander whose job is to turn the tides of the battle and convert being generators over to his army's side. Sort of partway between Zombie City Tactics and Dynasty Warriors. I don't know how most of the details of the game system will fold out, but it will involve large numbers of auto-generated, computer-controlled beings fighting each other for control of the city, while the player moves among them to fight enemies and take control of generators to make them stop creating enemy soldiers and instead start making friendly soldiers, until he gains enough momentum to conquer the rest of the battlefield.
I'll talk more about it later after I think about it a bunch!