Posts Tagged ‘fruiti blox’
21st Jun 2009
Despite an incredibly busy time at work I have managed to progress my chameleons game by quite a considerable amount. It’s an action / puzzle platformer and I’m using Box2D for all of the platform elements. It just feels lovely bouncing off the blocks, gliding, sliding and slinking about the levels. As a side effect of this I have learnt loads about the b2PolyDef, sensors and custom contact listeners. It’s all good stuff though – you can never stop learning 🙂
Since release Fruiti Blox has been going down well. Loads of plays, decent enough NG and Kong scores and it even won the Mochiland “Flash Game Friday” award (and $100 in the process), winning this is a first for me so I was really pleased about it 🙂 Here is the review:
This puzzle game has you matching four corners of the same color and eliminating all blocks within that space. The gameplay idea isn’t new, but the execution is definitely top notch! I like how clicking on the color highlights the selected and dims the others (makes for finding corners faster). The bubbly graphics and smooth interface make it even more fun! You can’t just buy this kind of polish in a store, folks. With leaderboards and achievements rounding out the game, it’s definitely a great experience.
I’ve had some player feedback come through that I am going to implement in a new build that I’ll release to Candystand and BigFishGames next week.
The 8-bit Interview
I also finally managed to complete an interview with Jeff over at 8-bit Rocket. He sent it through to me around the start of May, and I only just got it back to him, which is incredibly slack of me. Hopefully it won’t take him as long to edit out my weirdness and get it live as it took me to finish it.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know how disgruntled I was with GameJacket. Their recent collapse into bankruptcy has left a lot of developers out of pocket, myself included. I’m not going to dwell on this any further, a number of good people have lost their jobs there and a really well built system is now in tatters. I understand why it happened, what I will never forgive them is offering me the $1000 advance in the first place even though they knew full-well they could never afford to pay it to me. That just stinks. I’m even more annoyed by the fact that Kyobi was all set to actually make back that advance, and then some, had it had a chance. It had already earned nearly 60% back by the time they went under. With GameJackets collapse the game dropped out of hundreds of web sites across the world, which of course also effects the amount of referrals it can send to Kongregate (my primary sponsor), so I’m almost certainly going to loose money as a result of this too.
Still, life goes on. There’s no point even giving this any more thought. I recognised the “dying” signs of GameJacket a good month in advance of their death, and released Kyobi onto Mochi as a precaution and now I’m glad I did. Otherwise it’d be fighting for distribution against the rest of the wave of GameJacket orphans now hitting the service.
AS3 Atari ST YM Player
Christian Corti, the mastermind behind the AS3 Mod Player library Flod, has been working on a YM Replay library and it is sounding incredible! The YM format is a direct register dump from the YM soundchip found in computers like the Atari ST or the MSX. There are hundreds of YM tunes available (converted from classic games and demos). Although SNDH is the format of choice for chip-tune replay on real Atari hardware, getting that to replay within Flash means emulating an entire 68000 CPU, which is quite a tall order. YM replay at least means it’s “just” having to emulate the YM chip itself.
How useful is YM replay in Flash games today? Virtually none unless you were doing a retro remake and wanted an authentic sound (without using megs worth of mp3 files, YM tunes are typically around 4k in size).
But how cool is the fact that FP10 is powerful enough to do this at all? Loads 🙂
10th Jun 2009
I finished my game Fruiti Blox back in December 2008 and sold it to Candystand.com. A few months went by and they still hadn’t released it. I asked them what the problem was and basically they were flat-out designing and releasing their new site. So Fruiti Blox got side-lined in the process. They are re-doing the graphics and branding for the game entirely so I can understand the delay.
However part of the original agreement was that after 3 months I could release a viral version with ads. Obviously the game still hasn’t seen the light of day on their own site, so “3 months” was looking a long way off. I was always very happy with this game. The love and attention I poured into it paid off, so I was a bit upset that until now no-one got to experience that.
Thankfully they agreed this situation was a bit pants, sent me an animation to use and said I can release now providing it appeared at start-up. I took a couple of hours, packaged it all up and now it has finally entered the wild!
I’ve no idea how well it’ll go down on NG and Kong, but releasing it there is like one of those developer “rights of passage” tasks you have to put your fledgling games through. Some get flamed into hell and back, some limp out with mediocre ratings and a feeling of averageness, while on those rare occassions you may actually get some comments beyond “meh” and ratings beyond “1/5 – No zombies”.
I’m guessing due to the fact you really do have to read the tutorial in Fruiti Blox (otherwise it just doesn’t “make sense”) that it’ll get slammed until it hits the more casual portals. Time will tell.
17th Dec 2008
Today I delivered the final source files to Candystand.com for my latest game Fruiti Blox. They should be releasing it in January 2009, so I’ll write again when it’s live for playing, but it was a great experience for me and they were fantastic people to work with. I can’t wait to see the game live.
Oddly enough today also marks the first anniversary of my journey into AS3 and Flash. It was a year ago today (back in 2007) that I started teaching myself AS3. I had never touched a single line of ActionScript in my life before. All of the AS2 code I saw scared the hell out of me, the sheer mess of it really went against my coding OCD! But AS3 was different. It was familiar, and powerful. I armed myself with Moock’s Essential AS3 bible, the AS3 Cookbook, a copy of Flash CS3 and set to work.
The journey has been incredible. I’m no stranger to programming, especially not games development, but I honestly have not had this much development fun for many many years. I’ve always said that limitation breeds creativity (a true mantra of the demo scene), and I found the limitations of Flash were what drew me in, but the sexiness that is AS3 captivated me and never let go.
My first ever game was called “Go Fish”, and it involved making a fish swim through an ever encroaching sea cavern. It taught me a lot about how AS3 worked, in particular how it handled bitmaps and mouse events, and the whole process of screen updating. Collision detection was ropey (at best), the graphics chunky and I stupidly set the frame rate at 60 fps. But it was a start.
From there I moved onto a few small demo effects, porting over my old DarkBASIC code into AS3. Starfields, morphing balls, sine-waves, that kind of thing. Seeing these effects come alive in my browser was awesome. It was like meeting an old friend you haven’t seen for ages.
By this point we were into the middle of January, and I wanted to create a game for one of the web sites we look after at work. I figured it needed to be quite simple as it was my first Flash game project, so I kicked off with a “match 2 cards” affair. The end result was Match Quest for the Shaun the Sheep web site. I did all the visuals and code myself. I was so green to Flash in general that I didn’t realise that you could set an image in the library to use say 80% compression and that it would still retain alpha levels (I figured it’d convert it into a jpeg and loose all alpha, like a browser does). This meant the game was massive, over 2MB in size 🙂 so large I even wrote a pre-loader “space invaders” game for people to play as it loaded! But it was the first rung of the ladder for me, and I was pleased.
From there I moved almost directly onto my next game Colour Chain and it was released one month later. It was another puzzle game, this time involving more arcade style effects (nice particle trails, exploding blocks, etc) and yes – sound effects! (Match Quest is utterly devoid of any sound). People genuinely loved this game, and it’s played by thousands of people across the web still today. Something that amazes me.
I was now in my element and learning at an extremely rapid pace. I won’t bore you with a complete chronology of events for the year, but suffice to say we’re now 12 months from that infamous day and my coding life is a much richer and different place because of it. I wanted to release 12 games within one year, and I sort of failed to do this – I actually released 10. I guess if you include the early Go Fish and the Space Invaders pre-loader game then I coded 12, but I’m not one for cheating 🙂
Aside from the coding I’m really amazed at the Flash game developer community. I have met some truly great people this past year, not least of which include the dynamic duo over at 8-bit Rocket; quite frankly we’re like UK/US carbon copies of each other given our loves and pasts! Also a quick shout to squize / GYM. A total ActionScript powerhouse if ever there was one, a truly awesome coder, and dude your tenacity at capturing all Xbox achievements scares the hell out of me. Do you secretly own all Pokemon beasts? Also the great people on FlashGameLicense.com (both running it and using it), and the sponsors I’ve met as a result. FGL believed in my games, which lead to real world cash, which lead to utter surprise and amazement from me 🙂 Full respect for all they do.
So what does the future hold? Right now I’ve got 3 days left at work before I leave for Christmas, and I’m not back in there until January 5th 2009. I’m busy coding a MMO Flash based virtual world for a client, which is a whole new set of challenges believe me! This should see release in March 2009, and it will take up most of my commercial development time. But of course I’ll still be building games “for fun” as well. I have a number of ideas fleshed out on paper, one of which is well into production with art assets already underway. One thing I am determined to do is move away from puzzle games next year and focus more on action and arcade titles. Right now the game in production is a top-down shooter similar to Alien Breed / Gauntlet. So it’s requiring a mass of new technologies for me, and PixelBlitz is going to get some serious updates in the process.
There’s still a few weeks left until 2009 but I’m going to take them off, away from games coding and instead spend extra time with my family, read some books and hopefully finally complete Puzzle Quest on my 360. The stack of books I have here should interest a lot of you reading this blog, so I’ll write about them later on. Until then I hope you all have a great Christmas / Holiday season, and look forward to seeing what 2009 will bring us all.
10th Oct 2008
Things have been a little quiet on the PixelBlitz front these past few weeks. I have been working on some new classes but am not ready to release them to svn yet, however I have got a nearly complete Vector2D and Vector3D set ready, which will form the basis for a lot of things to come.
The reason for the slow-down is that I’m nearing completion on two brand new games, and resurrecting and finally finishing a third. The old game I’m finishing off is Five Dice Frenzy, a Yahtzee inspired dice game. I’ve beefed-up the visuals, added a worldwide ranking / highscore system and a comprehensive playing guide. There are a few tweaks left but then I will happily release it. It’s up on FGL at the moment but I’ll finish it properly next week.
My two new games are Tractor Beams and Fruiti Blox:
Tractor Beams is a new game for the Shaun the Sheep web site. Next week, around the 15th it will be released and feature exclusively on there for a month before we seed it further. It’s a strategy game very similar to Five Dice Frenzy, but totally Shaunified! We did the visuals in-house, again the excellent pixel work of Gav / Jam Factory (check out his awesome new blog design!).
The game features a really cool effect I created (almost by accident) on the title page, where the logo literally beams down from space into view. The effect could easily be re-used for a “spooky / ghostly” appearance, so I’m going to package it up and release it next week, so you can use it in any Hallooween inspired games you may be working on 🙂
We Tractor Beams will go down well on the Shaun site. It takes a while to get used to it and understand how to play, but once it’s clicked the highscore attack becomes really addictive!
My next game is Fruiti Blox:
Fruiti Blox is my brand new game, with graphics by Peter Jovanovic. It’s an against-the-clock puzzle game, which is very nearly finished – but I’m still toying with the idea of expanding the core game out further and including several “mini games” to enhance it. I’ll decide next week once Tractor Beams is released 🙂
Despite what the screen shot above may look like this is NOT a “Match-3” game at all!
So what’s next? I actually think it’s time to cease game making for a moment and spend some quality time on PixelBlitz, finishing off all the odds-and-sods I left hanging around, and integrating some core new classes into the fold. By the end of the year I fully expect to have the world manager done, and hopefully the tile map class as well (but no promises on that one!).
I’ve been using PixelBlitz (at least core parts of it) in all my games recently, and it definitely speeds things up. But the more I use it for real games, the more I realise we need to add!
Right now though I’m off to pack for The Game Creators Convention 2008. I attended last year and it was great fun, so I’m expecting nothing less this year 🙂 Most people will be there already, but I need to travel up in the morning instead. It means getting up at 4.30am, but it’s worth it!
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