Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Introducing Station

This is something I meant to post WAAAYYY long ago, before we released Station to the world. I thought it might be interesting, cause we never talked about Station anywhere else.

Never introduced it or explained what it is. Just pooped it out and didn't talk about it. Which I guess requires a little explanation why.

Basically I came up with this game idea years ago and originally made it in DOS, using qBasic, but never really 'finished' it.

Through the years I would start it up again, get to the point where you could move ships around and technically play a game between two people. But never actually cracked the nut of AI. Which was kinda my whole point and what I really wanted to get to.

About the 8th time around I was learning XNA and I figured it would be interesting to see if I could get this game working. I did and actually got around to making the AI work.

I was pumped to say the least.

So we decided to enter it into a competition and were readying a special build with threaded loading but there was a bug somewhere and I couldn't find it. It would randomly crash and I had no idea why.

That coupled with the realization that XNA is really awesome if your making stuff for yourself, or you know it will only run on the xbox, but really is a horrible experience if you want it to run on other peoples machines; made me not pumped.

Thats when I made Cygnus.

Then After Cygnus, Nick and I had a conversation and decided to release the older version of Station that we knew worked.

But by that time I was tired and really sick of thinking about Station (and also ashamed of using XNA.) So I just uploaded it and called it a day. Then Slept.

So without any further ado, the Station explanation starts here uncut...

We have a few smaller games on that sidebar over there, labeled "Tony's and Nick's Games", but we've been working on something a bit more ambitious. Namely, 3-D.

It's called Station. It's a cross between chess and Advanced Wars. Oh, what a lovely combination that is.

On an 8x8 grid, you control a Fighter and a Station. The Station builds, the Fighter fights. It's a tiny bit more complicated than that, but the game prides itself on being a simplified, turn-based alternative to the more complicated and hectic games like Starcraft or Age of Empires.

There's a level editor, too, for those who are interested. Or Customater(tm), as we call it.

And remember, us being fans of custom maps, we want your submissions! We may release map packs from time to time. Thunderware-Made and Fan-Made.

Although it's our first foray into more ambitious projects, it's still free, so if you're not sure whether to pick this one up or not, I just made the decision for you.

History Lesson:
This has been a personal project of mine for a very long time. I've redone it about 8 times in different programming languages on differant operating systems, starting on DOS. The original was ASCII-based. And I mean REALLY ASCII-based. That got deleted somehow. In fact, something always happened when I would try to make this game. But not this time. This time, it's finished.

Please rate and comment!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Breadcrumbs 4: Super Mario Galaxy

In Super Mario Galaxy there are planets floating around that Mario can walk all around. Some planets are spheres or odd shapes and have no up or down association, but other planets are coin shaped and have two sides to them.

First time you encounter a little planet with a flip side to it, they need to explain it visually to the player. Get the idea that theres a entire other side to the rock your standing on, probably with more stuff being on the other side.

But the player can't see it at all because it's on the other side and whatever the player doesn't see isn't there.

I'm sure you could explain it to someone all day using text on a sign post.

Well, maybe you could, but "walk off the side of the world!" Just looks kinda silly.

I think how they chose to do it is a little genius. They actually use two differant methods right next to eachother.

One part is a bridge that goes over the lip of the world and wraps around. This works really well as a visual queue to the player expressing where to walk.

The second other method, is the warp pipe that just warps to the other side directly below it. Probably redundancy in case the bridge doesn't coax someone, they'll travel down the pipe and get to there destination.

Breadcrumbs 3: Athena

I've recently gotten access to a GameTap account. There are a lot of old interesting games that no one cares about anymore (but should).

I came upon a game called Athena. Never heard of it before, I don't know anything about it.

I recorded a video of me playing..

It does some interesting things in the beginning to explain a couple of ideas really simply.

After a short battle the player comes upon this lonely stump. After the player realizes theres a jump button and jumps over it (and takes care of that enemy), there confronted with this wall thats taller then there jump can take them.

After a short while it becomes apparent that if you whack it with an attack, it destroys bits of the wall letting you pass.

Another interesting little thing is that Athena can climb up and down vines.

With enemies spawning and power-ups making an appearance on top of this little hill, it becomes apparent that you should be able to get up there. Thats when you realize that you can climb a vine.

Then you see the vine going down and wonder; "If I can climb UP a vine, can I climb down?"

You do, to find out that theres a whole other level and that it goes up and down not just from left to right.

For the record I have no clue how to deal with the cupid enemy that shoots arrows at you. It seems absolutely unfair.

Also I'm skipping over how the very first thing that happens to the main character is that the wind blows her dress off. I'm going to take it as symbolism for Athena getting down to business.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coin Crumbs 2

Here is another instance of collectibles used as bread crumbs.

This time a sole Yoshi coin is used at the top of a hill.

The purpose being to entice the player to climb up, grab it, then learn that they can slide down to kill that Rex that's walking up the slope.

Coin Crumbs 1

I was playing super mario world and I noticed they use coins a lot as bread crumbs to explain to the player where to go.

This is one of the earlier examples of it.

If your running when you come upon these coins and jump to grab them, your arch will carry mario up to the Yoshi coin and bring him down right onto the little shell enemy.

Showing you that you can collect those Yoshi coins and jumping on stuff kills it! All in one little coin arch.