1st Jun 2014
The Low Rez Game Jam was a month long jam organised by Deviever, where the objective was simple – create a game that ran in 32×32 pixels only. You were allowed to upscale your game of course, but it had to be natively running in just 32×32 pixels in order to qualify. To put that into perspective you could fit 48 games of that size into the resolution of a ZX Spectrum.
Ilija and I decided early on to create a first-person perspective styled dungeon crawler. A homage to the old Westwood and SSI games like Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master. It wouldn’t be as advanced as any of those, but we hoped to still convey the same general feeling. Our game was called Lands of Lorez (puns on so many levels there) and here you can see it running in its native size:
and zoomed in to 256 x 256:
After a couple of nights work we had the basic ‘crawling’ routine in place. Naturally I coded the game using Phaser, but ended-up creating an entire Tilemap Walker plugin to handle the movement in a way that I needed for a game like this.
13th Aug 2013
We’re delighted to announce that our latest HTML5 game has gone live today. This time it’s a jigsaw game aimed at pre-school children and based around the wonderfully quacky world of Sarah and Duck. If you’ve small children (and access to the CBeebies channel) then we’d strongly recommend watching the show! It’s a great twist on friendship and relationships, but in a slightly surreal and very colourful world.
We’ve also totally revamped our Games page recently. Before it was just a big long list of terribly unsorted screen shots, and if you were lucky they’d click through to an old games page. But thanks to a lovely re-design from Tom Waterhouse we now present all our games in a neat new style, and every single games page now has a wealth of information about the title including lots of screen shots and easy to find “Play” buttons at last!
So have a browse around our new games pages. If you factor in that nearly all of our HTML5 games were released in the last 18 months you’ll see just how busy we’ve been! And it’s definitely not slowing-up for the rest of this year either. If you’re thinking of contacting us for an HTML5 game then please do so very soon, as we’re getting booked out for the rest of 2013 extremely quickly. Equally if you’re a skilled JS game developer, drop me your details asap.
28th Jun 2013
We’re pleased to announce our latest HTML5 game has gone live on the BBC Cbeebies mobile site. Based on the extremely popular Tree Fu Tom TV show, Magic Dash see’s you running and leaping across 4 different stages, collecting magic sap and power-ups as you go. We’ve built a number of games for Cbeebies now and it was really great to do a proper action game.
Development at Photon Storm was lead by Jakub Joras with Tom Waterhouse handling graphics. Jakub pulled out all the stops to ensure the game ran as well as possible in mobile browsers. We were working from an existing Flash game created by Peg Digital, so the fun core game concept already existed as did a lot of the assets. But as is usual in moving from Flash to mobile we had to re-design the level layouts significantly and cut back on a few of the effects present in the desktop version. However we’re very pleased with the end result and what we managed to squeeze out of mobile browsers.
3rd Apr 2013
Signals are a light-weight, strongly typed messaging tool and we use them extensively in our game framework. And we’ve just released our TypeScript implementation for others to benefit from. It’s a conversion of js-signals by Miller Medeiros, which is of course in turn a conversion of AS3-Signals by Robert Penner.
You can get TypeScript-Signals from github.
If you are unfamiliar with Signals, how they work and how they compare to Events then this short summary is well worth a quick read, but to summarise:
- A Signal is essentially a mini-dispatcher specific to one event, with its own array of listeners.
- A Signal gives an event a concrete membership in a class.
- Listeners subscribe to real objects, not to string-based channels.
- Event string constants are no longer needed.
- Signals are inspired by C# events and signals/slots in Qt.
I ported over all of the 18 unit tests to TypeScript as well. So you have plenty of examples: from adding a basic listener up to manual binding and dynamic context switching.
Here is an example of how we use a Signal within our Position component in our framework. In this case ‘updated’ is our Signal and when the Position component is updated we dispatch it:
this.updated.dispatch(this._point.x, this._point.y, this._z, this.cssTranslate3d, this.cssLeft, this.cssTop);
Anything that is listening to the ‘updated’ Signal is notified of the new values being sent. For example our Sprite game object listens for updates:
And a local private method _updatePosition responds to the new values being sent.
20th Feb 2013
Remember Quartet, our flash game from 2010? Remember the Commodore64 port called Assembloids from late last year? After being an unexpected hit in the RGCD C64 Cartridge Challenge it is now available to buy on a C64 cartridge in both regular and deluxe editions from RGCD and also as a cassette tape from Psytronik.
I was excited to receive my deluxe copy in the mail today, and just as back in the golden days, the box comes full of goodies. Apart from the radioactive-green cartridge itself, there’s a neat little instruction booklet, a code-sheet for keeping track of your best scores, a sticker and a themed business card.
The game itself is further improved from the competition version, and features a multitude of neat little details.
Developing a game for C=64 has been immensely fun, in no small part thanks to having a great team of people. Enthusi (Dr. Martin Wendt) was constantly finding ways to squeeze even more stuff onto the cart and had endless patience for my (and others) requests and nagging.
It was a rare honour to have Conrad (Owen Crowley) employ his mastery of the legendary SID sound chip to provide a better-than-original rendition of my original Quartet MODs. Last but by no means least, Heavy Stylus (James Monkman) conceived and organised the whole effort and basically fathered the project.
Furthermore mad props to Jazzcat the trusty playtester and consultant who saved us from eternal shame on many an occasion. For me it’s always a blast making graphics on the C=64 as working around its limitations feels like a mix of doing pixel art and playing a puzzle game. Having to program a game from scratch meant re-balancing everything and the result is perhaps even more fine tuned to wreck your nerves just enough to still leave you wanting to have another go.
Here are some shots of the box contents (click for the high res version):
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