Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sparkle, Change log for June 29

A lot of behind-the-scenes work has gone on this week, and my progress hasn’t been as quick as I had hoped. This is due in extremely large part to getting ready for the NFB national convention at work as well as the fact that I’m leaving for said convention tomorrow. I’ll be back in a week to pick up my work once more, but for now, here’s this week’s early change log.

  • 10:35 PM 6/29/2012Added in the basis for an attacks system, but it’s not in the game yet, as I just don’t have time.
  • 2:59 PM 6/29/2012 Changed the jump key from control to x to open up control for attacking
  • 1:41 PM 6/29/2012 Adjusted the depths of default pits so you can’t run jump out of them. If you fall into a pit, that’s your bad, and you’re climbing out.
  • Added in a system of momentum so that players can’t just run against a wall to get the benefit of a walking/running jump.
  • 8:26 AM 6/29/2012 Fixed it so that releasing the left shift key stops the player from sprinting
  • 11:13 PM 6/28/2012 Took out the instant stop for colliding with a wall. Need to figure out an effective way to let people know they’re above a wall and able to move forward. As it stands now, the best method is to run to the base of a wall and jump straight up. That’s not what I had in mind.
  • 10:36 PM 6/24/2012 Widened the pits back out to 5 steps. It’s impossible to stand jump over them, barely possible to walk jump across them, and an absolute breeze to run jump across them.
  • 10:28 PM 6/24/2012 Fixed a bug that was pulling the player out of a jump way too early, but now his jumps soar as on the wings of eagles. Please help balance this.
  • 9:27 PM 6/24/2012 And we have running. Hold down left shift to accomplish it. Like so much else, this needs to be balanced.
  • 10:06 AM 6/24/2012 Put a guard into the vertical collision method so that you can’t jump out of the top of the level
  • 9:18 AM 6/24/2012 Brought the level of the ceiling way down so that it doesn’t take a full minute to climb from one chamber to the next
  • 11:28 PM 6/23/2012 Fixed a bug in jumping that allowed the player to jump while in the air

Sparkle, the first Change Log

For those of you I’ve spoken with personally, I’ve made no secret of the fact that what I’d really, really like to build is a side-scrolling version of Michael Feir’s 2002 board game Sparkle.

“Oh God! Another side-scroller?”

Shut up, random peanut gallery quotation! Yes—another side-scroller—but one the likes of which has never been seen in the blind gaming community.

For those who have never read the Sparkle rules before, here is the introductory passage:

In this game, one to four players must compete against goblins to recover as many trophies as possible from a magical complex comprised of six stacked levels. In addition to goblins, they must contend with ghosts, monsters, and special foes. If players let their opposition accomplish too much, the judgment scale will tip over and things will become even harder for the players. However, players may also cause the judgment scale to tip in their favor which will give them a shared advantage. The game ends when all six levels have been cleared of trophies and special foes, or when all adventurers have been killed.

You see that part that says “one to four?” That means multi-player—a multi-player side-scroller. Where are you now, random peanut gallery quotation? (For those of you who are interested in reading the full, 83-page document in its entirety , you can download the sparkle rules here.)

In my spare time, amongst the work I’ve been doing on the new boxing game, I’ve finally started work on Sparkle, and I’ve been having tons of fun putting it together. Michael and I are working together to make this the kind of game that both of us have wanted for years. We’ll have to change a few rules to move from turn-based play to continuous play, but overall the framework is already well established. And the best part? Michael asked in the original design document that any attempt to code Sparkle be released to the general public for free. Because my main reason for programming this game is because I want to play it, I am happy to honor that request.

In order to keep everyone updated on the progress on Sparkle and other titles, I’m switching up my methodology a little bit. Instead of sending out updates in the form of my customary, beautifully written prose—ha!—I’m going to post copies of the change logs I’m already writing for Michael and the other testers. This means that it will be quicker for me to post updates, and you all will get to see regular progress reports instead of having to wait two months between blog posts.

So without further ado, here’s the first change log:

  • 1:42 PM 6/23/2012 If you are rising or falling, and you encounter a vertical surface such as a ladder, wall, or pit wall, you won’t hear the climbing sound
  • 1:36 PM 6/23/2012 If you crash into a wall while jumping, you fall down. Awww.
  • 12:57 PM 6/23/2012 Made it so that you can climb the ladders and climb them quickly. need a better ladder climbing sound, though.
  • 12:14 PM 6/23/2012 drew in the ladders on the sides of the stories, will need to tweek this some when the top and bottom floors are ready
  • 12:06 AM 6/22/2012 added in the ability to jump by holding left control to charge, releasing to jump
  • narrowed pits from 7 to 3 so that a fully charged walking jump can cross them but a standing jump can’t
  • increased the depth of pits so that players can’t walk jump out of them, may increase it further so that players can’t run jump out of them either
  • 11:15 PM 6/21/2012 Added in a solid_surfaces array and a check_solid_surfaces method to make it easier to tell when a player/monster is standing on something it can jump off of
  • 8:46 PM 6/17/2012 Changed the top of pits and the bottom of walls to be a different surface type so people can’t jump off the sides of pits and walls
  • 8:34 PM 6/17/2012 Made it so that players couldn’t walk and climb at the same time
  • 2:58 PM 6/17/2012 Built in falling distances. Any fall from greater than 8 feet will hurt. May need to be balanced.
  • 1:14 PM 6/17/2012 The player can officially fall. I updated the falling speed to 50, though this may need to change depending on how it feels.
  • 12:39 PM 6/17/2012 Put a debug check in to insure that people can’t make pits too deep.
  • 12:32 PM 6/17/2012 Changed the literal values for the floor into an actual floor_level variable. This makes it so that people can create complexes of different heights.
  • 10:06 PM 6/13/2012 made it so that the game won’t crash if the player climbs down to the bottom of a standard pit
  • 9:59 PM 6/13/2012 Widened the pits and walls. This may need to be fixed when jumping and running come in.
  • 9:55 PM 6/13/2012 climbing is partially implemented. It is possible to climb up and down walls and pits, though the game still breaks if you climb off the bottom of the board. The player also can’t fall yet, so climbing is kind of a formality at present.
  • 10:36 PM 6/11/2012 made everything below the floor into impassible terrain. this should help with climbing and falling
  • 10:23 PM 6/11/2012 implemented the add_pit method in the story class, placed one of each type of pit in the test floor
  • 9:30 PM 6/11/2012 implemented standard, bottomless, and fire pit classes, placed the appropriate sounds in the folder
  • 8:40 PM 6/11/2012 changed the panning of buildings so that walls you were standing far above weren’t extremely quiet

The Great Soul-Searching Odyssey, Part III–Rebirth

It’s been quite a while since I went on my sojourn of soul-searching, and I’m happy to say I have finally come to a few conclusions. I’m also happy to say that while I’ve been soul searching, I haven’t been idle. I’ll put that information out in a forthcoming blog post, but for now, let’s finish this odyssey.

First thing’s first. How’s that boxing game coming along?

It is, and it isn’t.

I’m going to finish the boxing game; in fact, I’m still working on it, but it’s going to have very little to do with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. Instead, it will make use of a new, revolutionary style of interaction that’s going to make the game actually worth playing. Instead of standing in one place, dodging back and forth, and throwing random punches, you’ll actually be able to circle the opponent, run around the ring, knock the opponent against the ropes, etc. What’s more, the framework for the boxing game won’t be just for boxing, but instead will have myriad possibilities including fighters and adventure games. And–oh yeah–I’m building it from the start to be multi-player.

Also, when I say “I’m building,” I mean that I’m actually working on the project right now–well not at this exact moment in time, but you get the picture. Currently, it’s possible to navigate the arena in true, 3D-style, approach the enemy, and pick up loose items (that last part isn’t for boxing). The project is making progress, and it has been fun to watch it grow. The boxing game/whatever it becomes isn’t the only thing I’m working on, however, and thus we come to my second conclusion.

I have wanted to design games for as long as I can remember, and once I realized I had the power to do so through coding, I turned game design into a part-time hobby. Just as I was picking up the hobby, however, my wife and I fell on hard times financially as a result of the cost of moving from Texas to Minnesota. As a way of helping to make ends meet, I attempted to approach Grey Matter Productions as a money-making venture. There were two problems with this approach, though. First, I knew squat about programming when I first started, thus making the likelihood of turning out a playable game right away infinitesimally small. Second, I was already working a more-than-full-time job, and the prospect of coming home and putting in another few hours of work at the end of the day was extremely daunting. You can imagine how much I got accomplished.

Thankfully, our finances have stabilized, and I have been able to treat Grey Matter Productions and game development in general as the hobbies they were intended to be. Interestingly enough, this has actually sped up development quite a bit, as I’m able to enjoy coding for the sheer sake of coding rather than working on it out of obligation.

Since what I’m doing is a hobby first and foremost, I’ve decided to treat it as such. This means that, from time to time, I may work on other projects as the interest strikes me or to avoid burn-out on a particular game. In fact, this has already come in handy when trying to break through a particularly tough road block in boxing; by taking my mind off of the current difficulty, I was able to stumble on a solution in a round-about way. I’m happier about coding than I have been in a long time, and I’ve made more progress in the past month than at any other time since I began this venture.

For those of you wanting a boxing game, you’ll get it, and when you do, it will be better-designed, more intense, and more feature-rich than its original incarnation. There’s also the upshot that I’ll like it more and thus will be more inclined to work on it. At the same time, however, you may have to wait a bit longer for it. That doesn’t mean I won’t be working, but it does mean that I’ll likely be working on more than one project at once.

It will all be worth it, though. Just you wait and see …