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Thu, Nov 19th 2009, 20:16
Old is the New New  

A brand new build has been released. In it you get:

* Old, outdated engine version. (Wait, is that good?)
* Approximately +30% performance gain. (Yes, it is.)
* Intermittent crashes resolved. (Quite good, in fact.)

So, it's the exact same, but better. The only thing that isn't 100% internal (read: you could notice, but won't so I'm drawing attention to it here) is that the random emblem generation is a fair bit better about picking colors. Retroactively adding new improvements to an old engine proved to be pretty mind-numbing, so I wanted something trivial and visual to offset the pain.

Head on over to the Oxidus website to upgrade if you haven't already.

567 comments

Tue, Nov 10th 2009, 20:33
Oxidus Open Beta  

Oxidus has arrived. Head on over to the Oxidus website to download the client and sign up for an account. It is believed to be stable, but please notify me of any problems you're having. Any and all feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

Existing beta accounts have not been purged. So, if you've already been playing, you won't need to sign up again; just grab the latest version of the client and you'll be on your way.

Good luck and have fun. I'll see you on the battlefield.

332 comments

Wed, Oct 28th 2009, 18:38
Dorfenstein  

Although I poked a few things with Oxidus this week, most of my effort was put into the Gruedorf page. Those of you who visited late last week will notice that it has changed yet again. It's mostly superficial changes; I like nothing more than tirelessly adjusting layouts and tweaking colors. Honest. The end result is a much more elegant thing, which is what I wanted all along.

It's not all just fluff, though. Each user profile now has a handy timeline too! Using bright, cheerful colors, it illustrates just how well a participant has (not) performed over the course of Gruedorf. There are some more features I'd like add, but for the immediate future I'd like to get back to Oxidus. Happy 'dorfing to you all!

276 comments

Wed, Oct 21st 2009, 13:45
I Don't Give A Dorf  

I don't know why I waited until mid-week to push this out, but here's the fruit of my weekend:

Gruedorf 2.0

While it looks somewhat different, functionally it's very close to how was before. The bulk of actual improvement was done on the backend, so future improvements and features should be significantly easier to implement. I can't express how bad it used to be; there just are no words.

Feedback is, of course, welcomed and encouraged.

303 comments

Wed, Oct 7th 2009, 22:18
Failure Abounds  

The cause of the combat anomalies continues to elude me. I am fast approaching the point where I just rewrite huge blocks of the combat engine until it goes away. This makes me die a little inside.

In other news: as I'm writing this, every participant in Gruedorf is failing.

Every. Single. One.
Simultaneously.

This makes me die a little more inside.

328 comments

Mon, Sep 28th 2009, 13:11
Lateral Bombs  

Well, I've been working towards getting Oxidus to play nice with Verge 3.2. After a fixing a handful of problems caused by my slapdash OO practices the game was up and running (albeit with a slightly diminished framerate, which I suspect is related to classes being defined in lua instead of C now). So I did a couple test battles and everything was looking good: enemies were popping in and out of existance, bombs were dropping sideways, entities were moving at irregular speeds, wait.. that's not good.

So yeah, everything works except combat. I still can't figure it out. For some reason it is just horribly, terribly broken, except that it still "works". But it's as if the numbers suddenly decided it would be fun to randomly go to the wrong place. I can find no sane explanation. So, in short, everything went better than expected until it went worse than expected.

That's all I've got this week.

211 comments

Fri, Sep 18th 2009, 09:23
Vista Ho!  

Changes, in (approximate) order of importance:

* Vista support! This was, in reality, my fault all along; Vista's stricter socket rules exposed the error of my ways.
* Sludge accumulated on the player ship now deteriorates over time. The rate of deterioration is inversely related to the ship's hull volume.
* Assault durations are significantly shorter and more uniform (~50-90 seconds).
* You can now pan the sector map camera by holding right click and "pushing" in a direction.
* Panels highlighted for a tutorial panels now blink briefly to make them more apparent.
* Fixed a bug that allowed notched sliders to be set to intermediary values.

Remaining:

* Light audio clean-up work
* A few bits of additional combat art
* Much dreaded porting to Verge 3.2

Really everything is going swimmingly. Beta player feedback is increasingly positive and I'm steadily progressing toward the finish line.

142 comments

Fri, Sep 11th 2009, 16:10
Waffen  

The weapon system improvements took a bit more work than originally expected, but are now in place and will only need minor number tweaking. It's pretty lightweight, but definitely makes things more interesting.

The strobe is now a significantly tougher customer. When it flashes, the player's directional controls are temporarily scrambled, making even basic evasion difficult.

And a couple ugly (but simple) bugfixes:
* Fixed a bug that allowed players to attack multiple planets simultaneously.
* Fixed a bug that could cause parts of the player hull to be drawn over the near-death flash.

I know I said I'd give some chatter about these changes, but I want to wait until I've actually pushed the next release out. I've still got a few more bits to tackle this week and then we'll be there. Stay tuned!

342 comments

Fri, Sep 4th 2009, 17:02
Lots of Changes  

Quick and dirty patch notes style!

Shield / Damage Revision:

* All collisions lower the shield's level by (at least, see below) 1.
* Damage from a single source exceeding the shield's Threshold causes shields to fail immediately.
* After total failure, shields are restored after twice the normal restoration time.
* Value ranges for shields have been rebalanced with the new damage system in mind.
* Enemy damage outputs have been adjusted to better fit the new damage scale.

Miscellaneous Changes:

* Client can now remember password between sessions.
* Ship's now fire over their slime layer where appropriate.
* The mass penalty for raising hull capacity now scales with the hull's mass.
* Hull volume and mass values have been adjusted significantly.

Slated for next week:

* Soup up the weapon system. How? I'll never tell!
* Shorten the amount of time that a battle can take.
* Give the Strobes a much needed shot in the arm.


I'll likely take some time to actually discuss all of these changes in next week's post. After that it will be time to move to a Vista-friendly engine release. I'm not looking forward to it, but it needs doing.

333 comments

Wed, Aug 26th 2009, 17:21
Fixing a Hole  

As the beta feedback has been coming in, I've been aggressively tweaking Oxidus to get it to worthy-of-public-beta status. I can't really say with any certainty as there are still some hard issues that need tending to, but open beta in two weeks (currently) seems feasible.

Normally I review my SVN logs and turn that into a paragraph or two to give a more specific recounting of the week's work. This week's circumstances to not afford me this luxury. So, you get what I remember instead.

The sliders now have an arbitrary granulation, which allows their value range to be broken into sane increments. Honestly, you will never know the difference between 67 and 68 damage in any meaningful way. This results in a smoother, simpler player experience that still affords the same overall variety.

Previously, all of the administration behavior was through a debug build of the client. It has been reconfigured such that administration is now linked to individual individual user accounts and not the particular build. This allows me (or theoretical other admin) anywhere, provided I have an internet connection. Nifty!

Though you might not expect it, the single most time consuming task this week was making the blueprints save / load buttons highlight when moused over. I had a really hard time coming up with logic for this within the UI system that wasn't horribly ugly, but hashed it out eventually. After that it was a matter of getting the actual "glow" to look compelling, but generic enough that it could be used with other images (as it was implemented as a state of a UI image). AdditiveBlit saved the day; the actual effect is two AdditiveBlits at 50% lucent on top of the normal blit sprite. Now you know my trade secrets!

That should be enough rambling for now. Tune in next week for Wild and Crazy Damage Redesign.

466 comments

Tue, Aug 18th 2009, 20:54
Alpha Beta  

Work this week was mostly small adjustments here and there as I combed the game for bugs and other irregularities. Some of the more noticeable changes:

* Fixed a number of small, weird, inter-related bugs affecting the sliders.
* Updated the credits to be more complete and better organized.
* Added a slight color pulse to the Streamer's pre-blast trail.

I also decided on a proper name, which took several days of passive thought to get something that worked for me. Thus, "Oxidus" was born. Then it was time to replace the old placeholder logo. It's funny how, awful as it was, anything else just looked wrong in its place after all this time. Kael once pointed out to me that my Cuddles logo looks like script-fu (it's not); I have since vowed to never let this happen again. Never again! So I poured a shamefully huge amount of time into working and reworking the logo to create something interesting. It's fairly obtuse despite the angles; have a gander at the result:



This is probably the single most "artistic" facet of the game now. It's the first real visual feedback in the game, so every player that runs the game will see it; what great exposure! I really enjoyed attacking something in such a freeform manner and the resulting cryptic future-speak fills me with an unusual sense of pride.

I've started rounding up the usual suspects for some hot, closed-beta action. There are still some unfinished bits in the game and undoubtedly more will surface as people dig in. An open-beta period will follow in a few weeks, depending on how things go with this round. It's been a long road, but the end is finally in sight and I couldn't be more excited.

285 comments

Tue, Aug 11th 2009, 17:39
Still Stuck  

I am still camping out at my parents' house, which lighting struck earlier this week. Electric / telecom were moderately damaged, but have been adequately restored just in time for a post!

This week's work is a bunch of miscellany, including charting out a second galaxy sector to add to spacegame. I've also done some preliminary redesign work for the Gruedorf page. It was really only meant as a temporary solution. The idea was that if Gruedorf actually caught enough steam it would be made proper then. In spite of that fact that the majority of the participants are failing miserably (SHAME ON YOU!) I think it's time that it gets a much needed repair job. This will be my first priority after getting the spacegame beta running.

Next Monday closed beta will commence, with an open beta shortly after. All non-Vista Windows users are encouraged to participate. (Vista users will have to wait until I've had a chance to port to a more stable build of VERGE.)

269 comments

Tue, Aug 4th 2009, 11:43
True Agony  

Things are quite ready to go. I went ahead and made the first real galaxy sector, which lead me to create a graphical editor for the planets. Now I can retain my sanity while making content. A few previously overlooked bits got some polish along the way.

The new galaxy is about what I want it to be, but all of the numbers are still very rough. At this point, there really isn't much for me to do without some player feedback. We're still waiting on a couple small pieces of art, but I was figuring on a release this week anyhow. Unfortunately I've since become indisposed and stuck out of town, so I don't really have the capability to do so. Believe me when I say that I am at least as disappointed as you.

501 comments

Mon, Jul 27th 2009, 23:24
Degrees of Doneness  

Everything I hoped to complete is out of the way. I went ahead and made a lot of other small improvements along the way too. At long last spacegame is, in a sense, complete! Before we get too excited though, there are a couple of things that still need to happen:

* A handful of sprites need to be made. This is all Hyptosis' burden; I blame him entirely for not being able to release this week! Except that..
* I really need to take the time to sit down and plot out a better galaxy. The current one is just our own solar system with a couple extra planets hacked on and was really only meant as a placeholder.

So I guess it's still on me after all. This week I'll be designing a new and improved galaxy from the ground up. It should be ready to go by next week's update and because it'll be easy to adjust even after it's live, I really have no excuse for not opening testing by then.

192 comments

Mon, Jul 20th 2009, 21:59
Aural Trenches  

Quick breakdown similar to last week:

* 100% Gossamer -- All done!
* 000% Bullet Art -- Still waiting; this is pretty low priority.
* 100% SFX Scripting -- All the behavior is in and working. Hooray!
* 066% SFX Selection / Mixing -- Clocked a good 20 hours this week just fussing with different sounds. I'm always amazed how much work this takes for me to be happy with it.

A couple of other loose ends have cropped up (don't they always) since last post, but nothing major. Everything should be wrapped up and beta caliber by next week's post.

335 comments

Mon, Jul 13th 2009, 16:58
Sounding Off  

I have embarrassingly little to show for the amount of work I poured in this week. Following up on last weeks task list:

* [050%] Gossamer - Redesign done; currently using middle-ground placeholder art. Waiting on final art.
* [000%] Bullet Art - Not done; waiting on art.
* [050%] Sound Effects - About 2/3 of the scripting is done and roughly 1/3 have adequate sounds. The hard stuff is done, so the rest should fall into place quickly.
* [100%] Combat Completion - Not on the task list, but I went ahead and smoothed out the way this works. It was the really rough edge in an otherwise smooth user experience.

Expect testing soon; I will solicit players for it next week (or sooner, if you're the proactive type).

450 comments

Mon, Jul 6th 2009, 14:29
State of the Game  

All of the following must completed for the next "beta" release:

Gossamer Redesign -- I personally really like this ship, but at the end of the day I have to accept that it's a concept, not a production model. Too many players are confused and frustrated by its lack of a weapon (and rightly so). A tentative solution is already in the pipeline (aka Hyptosis) for this. It will be replaced with a new design that maintains the spirit of the original, but includes lousy (but present) cannon on-board.

Bullet Art -- The bullet art for the turret and player need to be replaced with sprites that don't scream "placeholder". This is no big deal, but it needs to be done.

Sound Effects -- Up until now the entire game has been running silent. This is pretty standard for me; I know that audio feedback really cements an experience, but I like to have lots of visual indication too and find that having no sound helps me pinpoint things that need a flash or a flicker. Since this next beta round will be somewhat more public and the game is feeling fairly complete, I think it's time to get a sound-scape going. I will probably not be adding in music at this time, unless I stumble onto something that just clicks. If anyone is interested in making some fresh space-tunes for this project don't hesitate to contact me!

Once all of these are knocked out, I'll invite everyone to participate in the testing. I expect this to be in 1 to 2 weeks, mostly depending on Hyptosis' availability (no pressure!).

369 comments

Mon, Jun 29th 2009, 12:24
Shore Leave  

A bit more art is now in place and some general tinkering this week. I spent a good four hours just tweaking the player's shield flicker. It relays the shields' state much more clearly now. Having a HUD free combat experience has presented some interesting challenges; there are still a few rough spots (most notably: shield regeneration), but the presentation is clean. With so much stuff going on at once, having a bunch of meters and values cluttering up the screen space would just make it that much harder to play.

I'm figuring on the next wave of testing being two weeks from now. This should be confirmed next week provided nothing blows up in my face between now and then.

688 comments

Sun, Jun 21st 2009, 10:55
Art Grind  

As the final battle art is rolling it, I started putting in the time to more carefully place the ship "muzzles" and came to an unfortunate realization: the player can adjust his bullet size, but the size of his ship's cannon is static.

So I adopted an approach that moves the muzzle based on the the size of the bullet. This fixed the "giant bullet of doom overlapping the hull" problem, but, depending on the muzzle size, starts looking funny when the bullet gets too big or too small. So it got scrapped.

Instead, bullets now fire at a muzzle-appropriate size and then then quickly expand once they're in the playfield. This keeps the action looking smooth at the player's ship without compromising the variable size. In some cases, it can look a little unusual, but it's rare and a sane player would probably never build his ship that way. Short of making a whole bunch of different gun art (or software scaling it, which would be worse, really), I think this is as good as it can be with the way the game works.

323 comments

Sun, Jun 14th 2009, 13:11
Vista's Siren Song  

It's no secret that Spacegame does not get along with Windows Vista right now. I have been told that the latest (repository) build of VERGE will make this all go away, so I'll just drop in the new.. Oh wait! It's not that simple.

I wish it was. The reality is that I've been running on a semi-unofficial, long-deprecated engine build. So, since I've started, the lua binding has been changed a bit and, worse yet, the class system has been replaced with one that is not fully compatible with some of my slapdash code. This is all actually quite good for the engine. It is, however, bad for me. To get my game up to snuff would require a fair amount of clean-up and rewriting. This of course puts me at the awkward spot of choosing either no Vista support, or pouring even more time into this game.

I can't really afford to not upgrade the engine, so it's not much of a choice at all. After this is done I'll have Vista support, cleaner code, and support for new engine features as they come. I do slightly regret diving headfirst into the lua side before it was cemented, but ultimately it was fun and this is only a minor setback.

377 comments

Sat, Jun 6th 2009, 19:56
Nomenclature Madness  

Well, I finally sat down and worked through the only real remaining hurdle: reworking the defensive attributes. Each "ship" had three different adjustable attributes (the names of which where never really finalized, but were: "offense", "defense", "quantity").

Each of these attributes then influenced one or more specific qualities of the unit, with many even overlapping to create "compound" properties.

e.g. The Streamer's movement rate was affected by both its Offense and Defense. By moving faster:

* It is harder for the player to spot it and get out of the way in time.(Offense)
* It is more likely to make it off the screen without being shot and destroyed, yielding a "successful" deployment. (Defense) It's worth mentioning, for those that haven't already played (and quite probably most that have), that this ship doesn't maximize its damage potential until after it exits the screen.

So, in order to max out its speed, you'd actually have to max out both its offense and defense attributes. I think this is a pretty neat way to handle things, and, in a perfect world, it would make a great game, but it.. doesn't.

The reality is that not only is this pretty complicated (especially for a game that's largely just pick up and play shooting), but it's all happening in the background under vague labels too! Best case: dedicated players reverse engineer the numbers and learn how to work the system, while casual players are uninformed and fail miserably. Worst (and most probable) case: players are quickly frustrated and annoyed, prompting them to give up on the game.

Obviously that's bad, so that plan has been scrapped. Or at least severely amended.

It's not exhaustive, but here are some quick bullets about the "new" system:

* Each unit type still has three attributes, but each set of three has been tailored to the specific unit type, instead of trying to shoehorn the unit types into a generic attribute set.
* Each attribute is linked to a single property. Gone are the days of complex, intertwining relationships.
* When setting up your defenses, the UI clearly displays what an attribute adjusts for that specific unit when mousing over its slider. The numbers are all still tucked away in the background, but at least the relationships are clear; semi-transparency should be sufficient.

As big as I'm making it sound, in implementation these are tiny adjustments, but I spent a lot of thinky-juice deciding that this is the best course to take. Now that this is done, I'm feeling good about the project again and really can't wait to wrap up the rest of the non-balancing work so I can get this out to everyone.

397 comments

Fri, May 29th 2009, 00:01
We Get Signal  

Moving is mostly completed and was thankfully uneventful. Everything is, more or less, back to normal. Since I'm tired and in a hurry to get myself out of the red on the Gruedorf Scoreboard, this will be brief.

I did a lot of little improvements to the text for various tooltips. Unique, per-unit-type tooltips were added to the defensive setup screen; each unit's purpose is significantly more obvious to players yet to become experienced veterans.

The gravity ship's mechanics have been reworked to be a little more "correct". Its power is still based upon the distance between it and the player, bu the distances is now between the closest edges, not the centerpoints. It definitely "feels" better now. Additionally, a number of visual tweaks (mostly experimental) have been thrown in to try and easily convey the gravity ship's behavior without being obnoxious; this has been surprisingly difficult.

828 comments

Wed, May 20th 2009, 15:14
Preemptive Strike  

I am in the process of moving and will be without internet for an indefinite amount of time, so I'm posting early as I won't be able to make my regularly scheduled slot.

Progress has been light this week. I knocked out a couple kinks in the initial battle behavior, everything works as intended now.

339 comments

Fri, May 15th 2009, 16:31
Relapse  

I'm not going to lie. The reason I missed my post deadline this week (and, indeed, why my posts have been so shallow for a while now) is that I have been sucked in back into Guild Wars in a bad, bad way.

The good news is that today I buckled down and crashed through the biggest immediate hurdle: adding a "tutorial" battle. This was was kind of tricky because normally battles are spawned out of a whole bunch of user defined values, and here I needed a fixed setup, but it also needed to not break when I make some inevitable changes to the battle stuff further down the line.

I ended up making a compromise. It's definitely not 100% future-proof but it should be pretty simple to patch it up in the event that it does need it. Yep, that's my story.

There are a few more little things that need doing and then, depending on how the art situation is looking, we'll be ready to roll for phase II of testing. I'm starting to get excited again, which can only be a good thing.

505 comments

Thu, May 7th 2009, 22:31
Explanation Optional  

Pretty minor update again. The "tutorial" system has been properly hooked up to the server and you may now choose to opt out of it if you already know how everything works (or of you're feeling reckless). One of these days I'll get a good solid grind in and push out the next phase of testing; it can't come soon enough.

188 comments

Thu, Apr 30th 2009, 21:24
How to Play  

Very light progress this week; the inline instructions are mostly fleshed out. These should really help explain the game, but it's pretty wordy. Ultimately I think it's better than not understanding the game at all, though. So a bit more work on that and then it's back to combat tweaking. The goal is to have this ready enough for the next round of testing by next weekend. Wish me luck!

475 comments

Thu, Apr 23rd 2009, 10:19
Situation Normal  

This week, my computer acquired a viral infection. Actually, several. Simultaneously. And they were quite unpleasant. So I spent virtually all of my time (including extensive sleep loss) fighting to wrest control of my machine and get everything back in working order.

I am happy to report that nothing really important was lost; it pays to have a contingency plan.

The bad news is that my net productivity on spacegame this week is about zero. It's going to be at least another week before the next round of testing can start.

338 comments

Thu, Apr 16th 2009, 23:41
Pew Pew Pew  

A little overdue and I'm short on time, so here's a condensed bullet list culled from my SVN log:

* Periodic progress "update displays" have been added to combat.
* Enemies now spawn in "waves" instead of a constant barrage of baddies.
* Combat duration is no longer explicitly controlled by the player.
* Further experimenting with the player ship presentation and visual feedback.

Next wave of testing could be as early as a week from now.

363 comments

Thu, Apr 9th 2009, 15:04
Paddling Along  

Very little to say this week. I'm just fudging with different aspects of the combat a bit to try and squeeze a bit more fun / intuitiveness into the experience. Nothing really remarkable to report, though.

241 comments

Wed, Apr 1st 2009, 14:35
Do Not Falter  

The first round of testing has been a technical success. Everything is working smoothly and as intended. I want to thank everyone who participated. I got a lot of great feedback on how it felt to be a player coming in from the outside. I would also like to extend a special thanks to Kael for taking the time to offer some fantastic design insight.

All of this has shown me just how much more work there is to be done. It's a little discouraging to realize you're not as close as you thought, but it gives me the opportunity to create a better game. C'est la vie.

So, I've been diligently grinding away at the improvements and will continue to do so. A few weeks from now, I'd like to start a second, larger wave of playtesting and see where we stand. I won't be dismantling the live test server, so currently enrolled testers are welcome to continue playing in the interim.

A brief list of the biggest changes:

* Added an "Active Players" panel to the sector screen; this lists any other active player(s) and what they are currently doing.
* Added translucent overlays of the defensive ships to the planetary defense screen, making it more clear what each is / does.
* Added "blueprints" to the assault outfitting screen, allowing players to quickly save and load templates for their ship designs.

237 comments

Wed, Mar 25th 2009, 11:50
A Few Good Men  

We're officially there. Everything either works or has an acceptable placeholder. I am now accepting "applications" for testing.

If you are interested in playing a potentially buggy, horribly unbalanced game to help me work through the kinks, please contact me through the regular channels (e-mail, IM, IRC [lunarnet]) or by leaving comments here.

That is all.

202 comments

Thu, Mar 19th 2009, 11:00
Ship Shape  

Each week more boring than the last. This week I fought with the details of redoing the player's hull system. The current approach is pretty neat, but sadly will not take well to sprite art. I'm pretty sure this is largely thanks to my love of vector games (and my use of vector art instead of sprites as placeholders); so, I frequently overplay my object-deformation hand.

Now, to make this work I've distilled it down to a small palette of different designs, each offering a unique purpose / focus. This should actually make ship building simpler and more straightforward for the player, even if it does lose some of its previous "Hey, neat!" factor.

It's now just a matter of implementation. I'm also intending to do the unthinkable and drop in some placeholder art for these so we can get some people playing it sooner rather than later.

202 comments

Wed, Mar 11th 2009, 18:58
Crawling Along  

For my part, very minimal work this week. Implemented some more new art and did some light refactoring of Ooze. I'm feeling miserly, so no new screens this week.

591 comments

Wed, Mar 4th 2009, 12:32
Annus  

Well, it's just a few days shy of a year since I switched gears and started working on Spacegame. I can say it's come quite a long way, even if it took longer to get here than I originally wanted. I definitely could've been done by now had I not wasted so much time fighting over what to do for the combat system or chasing other endeavors. Interestingly, because of these detours I was able to recruit the supremely talented Hyptosis and am also significantly more confident in the design, having had the opportunity to explore some other paths.

Recent progress mostly boils down to implementing the new art assets as I get them. Since there isn't much else to talk about, I'll celebrate this temporal milestone by offering the one thing I never do: screens. Full resolution ones at that (click to see full size). Yeah, who loves you?



343 comments

Wed, Feb 25th 2009, 15:11
Great Gravy  

Hyptosis cranked out a hefty chunk of art this week, so I spent a fair amount of time getting that all in place and working correctly. It's really starting to shape up now, but I'm going to keep a cover on any new screens for at least another week. In the non-art field, a number of minor bugs and quirks have been ironed out. I also made some tweaks to the interface to increase its friendliness.

My todo list is pretty thoroughly whittled down, so a public release is on the near horizon. When it actually happens mostly hinges on how quickly Hyp can deliver the rest of the art (no pressure); I was originally expecting to be done before now, but I think the dramatic boost in the quality of the art is worth a little delay, don't you?

492 comments

Wed, Feb 18th 2009, 21:50
Assorted Flavors  

The design for All the Marbles is tightening up pretty well, so the next step will be to roll out an engine prototype. However, it sounds the art department for Spacegame is back on track, so this new game will probably be put on hold at least until that long promised spacegame open beta. Look forward to next week when things are back on track and in full swing again.

381 comments

Wed, Feb 11th 2009, 14:46
Crowded Umbrella  

Spacegame is suffering some slight delays due to a minor kink in the art pipeline (read: Hyptosis is busy with more serious stuff). Once this resolved, it shouldn't be too long before I can get a proper release out.

Because of this, I haven't done any work on it this week. There are a few rough bits I could stand to work on, but I instead opted to get a jumpstart on my next project. It's going to be largely built with the same technology as Spacegame and has significantly simpler mechanics, so this should have a pleasingly short development time.

I'm a little sad about it, but I think it'll actually be a better game too. I'm not really going to spill any details yet, because I'm a jerk. Know that I am hammering away at the design, trying to maximize its awesome factor though.

The project name is "All the Marbles". I'll let you sit on that for a while.

731 comments

Wed, Feb 4th 2009, 18:16
Single Screen  

This week's progress amounts to the slow but steady addition of the combat art. Hyptosis has been hard at work creating some amazing sprites. Check it them out!



Okay, so my shrunken screens don't really do them justice. Take it on faith for now that they look great; you'll get to see them in action soon enough.

468 comments

Wed, Jan 28th 2009, 20:02
Whoa There  

Somehow, I completely missed my gruedorf deadline. By nearly a week! This is made worse by the fact that I've actually been hard at work on my game; I just completely forgot to post.

The biggest news, probably, is two-fold. First is that a handful of people have had a chance to play and everything went surprisingly well. Second, this means that very soon we'll be up to "open-beta" status and everyone will be welcome to take a crack at it.

Most of the wait between now and beta-time hinges on finally getting the art done and added to the game. Right now it's a bit boring and hard to track what's going on most of the time because it's just empty shapes.

I'm starting to get pretty excited as we ramp up for the final push. Look forward to tasty WIP screens of the new art stuff next week.

383 comments

Thu, Jan 15th 2009, 08:38
Shoeshine  

This week was mostly spent adding some polish the UI; adding tooltips, adjusting element sizes / positions, making sure everything flowed smoothly. The end result is a more attractive and intuitive experiece, so this is good.

Look forward to next week's post, which should actually have some biggish news.

278 comments

Thu, Jan 8th 2009, 00:30
To Market  

Quite a bit done this week, so I've condensed 30 revisions into a handful of bullets:

* Various UI elements got some tweaks / enhancements.
* Implemented the assault deposit / insurance system.
* The ship builder is now connected to the assault system.
* Fixed a major bug with the collision system.
* A complete overhaul of the market and underlying systems.

It's been a while since I posted any screens and this post, while bristling with productivity, is not particularly interesting, so I give you:

The new market screen:


The old market screen:


The new market system is a bit more complicated, but not so much so as you might guess from the screens. The old system had a market "AI" that moderated the current values of the different mineral types based on player supply and demand. This system was okay, but it had an arbitrary feel to it and a player with very large mineral supply could very effectively manipulate the market with a few well placed transactions.

An "order" system has replaced the old model, where you put an amount of goods (or money) on the market with the hope that another player will agree to your terms and complete the transaction. The result is a more player-driven system that can't be effectively bullied by someone with deep pockets. The obvious downside is that it's a little less straightforward and the interface for it looks intimidating at first glance.

It took two grueling days of work to complete the market conversion, but it's done now and I'm happy with how it's turned out.

199 comments