Category Archives: Dev

Don’t Blow It! – Pig Hill

Among other things, I’ve been making some new levels. Here’s one in development called “Pig Hill”:

On Pig Hill, you simply carry a round pig up to the top of a large hill. This round piggy likes to roll back down the hill, along with the oncoming logs that knock you around.

In testing, it’s a little frustrating because the logs come flying down the hill at crazy speeds.  They easily send you back to the bottom of the hill if you don’t time your jumps well.  A dash of linear damping should fix that. 🙂

Don’t Blow It! progress

Don’t Blow It has been steadily improving over the last few weeks.  I’m running out of programming tasks!  There are some new features I’m planning to add later, but more importantly, I’ll be producing a gameplay video soon (let’s hope for this week).

Here’s another screenshot to mark our progress:

It’s getting really exciting now, even as I struggle to manage the development.  I can’t wait to play it for real… but that means I need to get various pieces in order, like level design, art, music, and networking.  There sure is a lot of work left, but the game will be worth it.

XController: A library for using XBox 360 controllers

I recently bought a wired XBox 360 controller to use with my Steam games on my PC.  It works very nicely, so of course, I had to use it in my own code eventually.

Here’s the first place I’m using it.  I made a little library called XController that wraps XInput in a class.  It makes the interface to the controller a lot friendlier in C++ and does not require you to include the dreaded windows.h (or XInput.h for that matter).

Next, I might try to update StickyInput to use a similar interface.  Then I could have support for these controllers in all of my games.

You can find XController on Google Code!

Merry Christmas and all that!

I missed it by a few days, but Merry Christmas, nonetheless.  It’s not really about the day itself, right?

Tonight is New Year’s Eve.  I guess that means there won’t be another update for either NFont or Sprig this year!  Regardless, it’s been a good 2011 around here.  Lots of changes for our family and lots of opportunities that we’re really thankful for.  Props to Samaritan’s Purse for a great way to give back and show our kids the way it’s done.

I hope you had a great Christmas and have fun in 2012.  Here’s hoping for some game releases from Blue Dinosaurs… 😀

A first look at NFont 3

It’s been a while since NFont was updated.  While working on GigaSun Jet, I had added a couple of very useful features.  It seems like it’s time to show NFont some official love. 🙂

I started working on the new version yesterday, but I’m nearly done already.  All the hard work was done before.  I will be pushing the version number up to 3.0.0 due to some serious changes to the API.  Most importantly, NFont now controls the surfaces that you give to it.  It will take care of freeing the memory.

Other nice things should be apparent from this screenshot:

Built-in animations and much more 😉

Writing, coding, and limitations

As I’m working on GigaSun Jet’s first campaign story, I had some thoughts about writing stories that I felt like jotting down.  I’ve decided to treat my time on the story as if I’m writing a novel.  It really could end up being a real novel (I’m at about 10% of a short novel now, 6000/60000 words) and then I would have some interesting marketing options.  I wish I could start talking about my story here, but I’ve promised myself that I’d wait at least a month so I could get a solid start.

Writing a story and writing a game are fun creative tasks, but they’re also full of frustration.  One specific form of frustration that is common to both is simply getting started.  Without some sort of structure, getting started can be very tough.

This frustration is a symptom of a problem with many creative endeavors: Too much freedom.  That’s why Ludum Dare works so well.  It gives you some restrictions (time and theme, mostly) that focus you into a creative frenzy for a small product.  There are writing competitions that work in the same way, but I’m not quite part of that big community yet.

Of course, books and games have a few major differences that change how well certain limitations work.  The way that stories are communicated is simply through a collection of specially chosen words.  There are even fewer natural limitations than a game (though games can have true randomness and procedural content).  A game has to be logically consistent to some degree since the structure is based upon logic.  Words in stories, on the other hand, can easily conjure up ideas that can not exist in any reality (i.e. irrational concepts, logical fallacies).  Sometimes, the author can hide the inconsistencies well enough that they don’t interfere with the story.  I won’t get into that any further yet.  That’s a big can o’ worms.

So, my recommendation for you…  If you’re doing something creative, try to brainstorm up some fun restrictions and limitations.  That will help you focus instead of reading silly blogs like this one when you should be working.