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Wed, Dec 31st 2008, 18:45
Marble Massacre  

I would like to draw your attention to the games portion of wundermint. That is what we make here, after all. A few days ago, a shiny new game was released here, before its official announcement (though it was made pretty obvious in last week's post). The entire internet did, in fact, have the chance to play it days early.

To the best of my knowledge, no one has.

Well, you have no excuse now. Go forth and play!


Thu, Dec 25th 2008, 00:50

My track record recently has been a might weak, but I'm cooking something up for this "How about M" business. Two things, actually, provided McGrue doesn't throw me off his team for making a second entry. Or for not really getting much done on his game. Yet.

So get ready for something new and quirky from the wundermint as we approach the new year!


Wed, Nov 26th 2008, 21:07
Humming Along  

Tired and short on time, so this will be an decidedly short post. A quick review of this week's accomplishments:

* Outfitting screen is complete; just needs proper linkage to the combat system and server.
* Reworked the defense setup screen to be more intuitive / informative.

That doesn't sound like much, but it was actually a pretty grueling week, particularly the outfitting screen. It was definitely more work than I had anticipated.

The pending holiday weekend will probably limit my productivity in the coming week, so don't expect too much (which is a rather grim statement, considering how light on content this post is).


Wed, Nov 19th 2008, 16:20

Ever had a trusty pair of shoes that took you everywhere? And then ended up by the wayside after a sexy new pair comes along offering a renewed sense of freedom as you dash about in them?

When you finally switch back to the old pair, it's just not the same. Sure, it's familiar, but as you squeeze your foot back in, it pinches your toes, chafes your heel, and you could swear that a sharp, intangible little rock had taken up residence inside.

This has more or less been my experience with my current project. The seemingly endless period of prototyping, feeling out the combat system, has finally come full circle. Coming back to the core game, I find myself entrenched in an almost hostile environment, my jilted base game bitter, and slow to forgive.

But, in spite of how grim that sounds, hopes are high.

The attributes are implemented (even if the numbers do need extensive work) for all of the enemies that made the cut. The combat engine is in the main game and is properly linked to it.

Rejoice, for the entire skeleton of the game is in place! Ship building, art and number balancing are the only major hurdles remaining, all of which are being tended to.

After that, it's simply a matter of getting some early testing in before this reaches an "open beta" state. Everyone is invited and encouraged (in some cases, begged) to participate at that point. I expect to be there in 1-2 weeks.

If you would like to participate in the earliest phase of testing, leave a comment here or contact me directly and I'll get you onboard.

I'm also breaking my promise of screenshots. Again. The sad truth is that you'll probably be playing it before I bother to post another screen. We've reached the final push, so don't lose hope!


Wed, Nov 12th 2008, 21:10
Oh Great Woe  

I'm short on time; I hope you like bulleted lists. Now, prepare for a letdown. This week's update is pretty sad. Let's look at what there isn't:

* There are no delicious screenshots to be had.
* The combat engine has not been added to the main project.

That said, I have a mixed bag of news.

* Bad: My Xbox 360 ate it hard (E74).
* Good: This means I'll have more free time for gamedev!
* Bad: It's out of warranty and I can't afford to fix it.
* Good: I'll have that extra free time for a while!
* Bad: My clever 360 dev plans have been quashed.
* Good: ..I can't really see how this is good. I am sad.

It's not all bad news, though. The enemy implementations are complete, as projected. And, part of the reason why the combat engine hasn't been fused with the core game is because I decided to add the adjustable attribute stuff to the engine *before* I move it instead of afterward. This makes initial testing significantly easier and will ultimately result in an earlier completion date.

Look forward to next week when I more-than-likely post overdue screenshots and the attribute system is fully integrated.


Wed, Nov 5th 2008, 15:01
Tiny Update  

I spent the better part of a day adding the improved collision system to the combat engine. It was quite boring, but the transition was smooth (like butter), so I have no complaints.

Next week's goals: finish the enemy implementations and add the combat engine to the project trunk. Also, I'd like to put up some screens to keep McGrue's jaw flapping in check.


Tue, Oct 28th 2008, 17:57
Minor Breakthrough  

Okay, so it's a little behind schedule and quite short, but here it is at last. Accomplishments since last time:

* Added recaptcha to wundermint's comments out of dire necessity
* Purged the copious spam (and hopefully nothing else) plaguing my beloved website
* Decided what enemies to use after serendipitous inspiration from a photosensitive seizure warning

With all that out of the way, it's time to start linking all of this stuff together and refining it into a proper game. Expect gritty details next week.


Sun, Oct 19th 2008, 17:50
Brief Brief  

This is a short, no-nonsense update. The collision system has been improved to fully support heterogeneous collisions between points, circles, and polygons. Some early optimizations have removed a couple bottlenecks and bumped performance by about 50% in "worst case" scenarios. Four of six enemies are more or less complete. The other two are still being debated. It's surprisingly hard to have six different simple enemy types that each offer something unique to the experience. The goal for next week? Have alll six types hammered down and start hooking this all together.


Sat, Oct 11th 2008, 16:27
Worthwhile Delays  

Not one person bothered to render an opinion about last week's post. I am truly saddened. No, seriously. Honest.

True to my word, the core combat is done. Everything works. However, I've decided that the enemies are a little to plain and uninteresting, so I'm taking the next week to: a) swap in some slightly more creative baddies, b) optimize, optimize, optimize.

Here's a screen showcasing some of the newer enemies:

Sadly, when the screen gets very busy, the framerate drops to about 25-30 fps. VERGE really struggles with pushing all the pixels at 640x480, even if there isn't anything going on. So, if I can get it up to 30 fps at maximum busy-ness after the full art is dropped in (I'm just using primitive drawing at present), then I'll be happy enough.

That'll wrap up this week's (brief) coverage. By next week, the whole of combat should work and I'll proceed to link the battle up to the main game.


Sat, Oct 4th 2008, 10:31
Polling Place  

Visually, there's virtually no difference, so no screens this week. Most of the changes are on the AI behavior and improving the class hierarchy.

I'd like to request some community feedback. Assume a classic space shmup setup where the player is a lone ship avoiding / destroying hordes of incoming stuff. Now, to defend your planets from this cruel and merciless attacker, you can upgrade your defenses.

This is currently set up such that there are six different unit types, each with three adjustable "primary attributes". As a primary attribute is adjusted, it affects several derived "secondary attributes".

So, my questions to you, dear viewers are:
* Will six different enemy types provide enough variety?
* Do three different primary attributes offer enough flexibility?
* This makes for a total of 18 adjustments that must be made for each planet. Is this too many to comfortably manage?

My thoughts regarding variety and flexibility:
Consider each attribute as being a strictly on or off proposition. This means there would be seven different states for each enemy type, yielding 42 distinct enemy varieties. (Note: the attributes will not be a simple on/off; I'm just using this simplification to help frame it.)

My thoughts regarding the complexity issue:
I originally had each and every independent attribute adjustable. This offered a lot of opportunity for experimentation and creative combinations. That that meant setting several dozen independent attributes every time you won a 2-5 minute battle, or when wanted to tinker with your existing defenses. So it has since been distilled down to three. I've considered the consequences of taking it further. It would be hard to break it down into two logical attributes, so I think if it were to go any lower, it would have to be taken to a single attribute per enemy and just call it "level". This seems incredibly unexciting, though.

I think that's a fair summation of how things stand. Provided there are no last minute sweeping changes, the core combat should be done next week. Comments of any variety will be very much appreciated.