The Really Bad Spriting Continues!

Image

So I went through a whole sprite making tutorial and didn’t even keep going with what it wanted to teach me. Whoops.

sprite-hero

Anyway this is supposed to be a smaller version of the character from CaveBlade. That’s all, just wanted to say I was trying to improve at least a little bit.

Flexibility 

Standard

These rituals aren’t working for me anymore. Game updates on the weekend, personal posts early in the week, and Throwback Thursday made a pretty solid routine, allowing me to post here 3 times a week. But none of that predicted my last post, and anyway, it gets exhausting. Therefore, future posts here will be a bit more spontaneous – and less frequent. 

I also don’t want to stick to “make one game a month” anymore. If I’m rigid about that, I can’t start a major project now, or do one that might take a little longer. That’s a shame, because I found a big, long tutorial that I’m itching to follow along with. 

So, see ya whenever! 

Tales of Symphonia: Even Better Now?

Standard

Tales of Symphonia

Tales of Symphonia is one of my favorite games of all time. It’s huge, the story is fantastic, and the multiplayer mode is a very welcome bonus (though this is true of the whole series). Because of my fascination with the game, I’ve probably played through it something like 11 or 12 times in my life. Now, though, it’s been a few years, and I’m excited to come back to it–not just as a blast from the past, but because some aspects will mean even more to my adult self. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why.

WARNING: This article is going to spoil most of the story of Tales of Symphonia. If you have yet to play it, turn back now!

Continue reading

Experiment Month: Week 1

Standard

So, as promised, I’ve been working on some weird mini-ideas for the last week. I wish I could say I’ve been more productive than usual, but that wouldn’t be true. Still, I got two things done.

Unlucky Dice

I think a lot about game balance and whether it makes sense to use random chance a lot. Should a good roll of the dice decide whether you win or lose? I would rather see skill win the day. So I thought of ways that a good roll could become a trade-off, and thus this experiment was born.

Imagine a game where you roll dice to get points–each round, the player adds up the numbers on their dice to get their total for the turn. However, any dice that roll more than one have to be taken out of play for a while. These reserve dice get reduced by one each turn, and when they’re down to a value of one, they return to a play. In other words, the more points you get from a die, the longer it will be out of commission.

So, I created a “game” to simulate just that, passing the turn and moving the dice every time the mouse is clicked. What I found was that this was extremely balanced–whether it’s been 5, 10, or 15 points, the score totals didn’t usually vary by more than 6 points (and I used 6 dice, so that makes sense). Then I tried a slight rule change: dice only have to get down to a value of 2 to come back, making sure they got rolled more often. The point spread was a little higher, but not as much as you think.

In conclusion, this wouldn’t be a very fun game to play, but if something similar was used for, say, damage in an RPG (probably in a much lighter way), then it would work out fine.

Map Combiner

In Miracle Springs, each map is a little bigger than the screen can fit, so I added in a camera scrolling function. Since CaveBlade is actually very similar, I realized it would be possible to do the same (even if it would be a bad idea, which I’ll explain later).

CaveBlade consists of sixteen individual rooms, and my map system stores each one as a long series of numbers. The numbers correspond to spaces going from left to right, and at a certain defined point, the game logic jumps down to the next row. So, for one large room to work, I have to get the first row from the first room, then keep getting the first row from all the other rooms in that row… then move on to the second row of each, and so on. And that only covers four rooms!

If you’re in programming, you know that this calls for a bunch of for loops. It was just tricky to think about which one to put inside where, but I broke the process down into a list of steps and worked backwards from there. As a result, I’ve managed to make a program that does indeed take all of the maps and make one huge list of numbers. However, I have no idea if it’s actually correct or not. The only way to do that would be to actually add in a camera function to CaveBlade so the player can actually roam around this bigger map.

“But wait,” you may be saying. “Didn’t you promise you were done working on CaveBlade?” Well, it would be one thing if I was actually planning to put up a new version of the game with this camera thing as a feature. However, I designed all the rooms to work with the original setup. Certain enemies are confined to the area of a room, and if you mess up some puzzles, you can always leave the room and come back to find it reset. There’s even an optional puzzle that you can only solve by doing that!

The point, really, is just to see if it was possible. Unfortunately, I don’t know that yet, because adding in the camera logic is going to take more time. It’s the first thing I plan to do this week, though. Until next time!

Resource Spotlight: Chris DeLeon’s Course

Standard

This post probably won’t count for much, because I’ve already mentioned this stuff quite a few times, but starting now, I want to start giving more credit to the resources that have gotten me this far. So, there’s no better place to start than with the two Udemy courses that got me going on making games.

Code Your First Game is a completely free video course that walks you through the basics of Javascript and the HTML5 canvas. It’s extremely simple and will help beginners quite a bit. By the end of it, you’ll have a nice little Pong ripoff and the skills to mess with it and bring it a little further.

However, the real magic comes in a package called How to Program GamesIt’ll take you through two more games in the video format, but the book that comes with it holds all the secret. From a brick breaking game to real-time strategy, and the framework I used for CaveBlade sitting somewhere in between, you’ll have five more games under your belt. Plus, once you’ve gotten all of them up and running, the book gives you even more tips for making them even better.

Unfortunately, How to Program Games is not free. The advertised Udemy price is $45. That’s not huge in the long run if you’re serious about making games, but if you’re like me, that’s still a big ding to the wallet. Luckily, I got it through a (perfectly legal) workaround.

You see, Chris DeLeon’s Gamkedo club has a membership option of only $9 a month. Every level gets you access to the Udemy course, plus another huge book full of advice for game creators. Once you redeem that stuff, you can cancel your membership. That means you just pay $9 total for all of it–a serious steal, in my opinion.

So if what I’ve been doing looks fun, or even just interesting, keep this deal in mind–but of course, start with Code Your First Game.

Discontinued Already? 

Standard

So here’s the deal. When I first started Throwback Thursday, it seemed like there would be plenty of content. Five years of blogging? Probably a gold mine. 

But, it turns out, I don’t usually put out a lot of content that people can use and that stands the test of time. In fact, I’m basically out of usable posts. I had thought that I could also start cycling back through previous entries at some point, sprinkling in ones that I might write in the meantime. But that didn’t happen. 

This all begs the question: am I really putting anything interesting on my blogs over the years? Is it worthwhile for people who aren’t interested in my specific projects to look at this? Maybe not. Maybe I should fix that. Maybe more useful, better content is coming.