Saturday, July 23, 2011

Where's My Pen ? : 2009 - Office Worker - " A Week In a Life Of An ... "

Ok ! You've lost your Pen, some mad fool is talking loudly on the Phone and all you want to do is gone home and do something less boring instead. Feelings that most would share in a typical office where personalities clash and where everyone is better than anyone. Well, until now that is !
Office Worker is a typical platformer romp where you have to collect and avoid things in order to complete a level. In this game you play, Greg and have to go through each day collecting objects for each day of the working week, until a Jigsaw piece is available. But can you reach the ultimate goal in completing the week at work ?
 
There are energy boosters along the way in the form of Cream Cakes and Cookies, just enough to give you that sugar rush to get that bit further. The crazy elements I like in this game are the spitting packing boxes on Level 2 and the firing Network Cables on Level 4. All in all a great little game with the joy and luck in being able to use the music by Bit Shifter [ http://www.8bitpeoples.com/artist/bit_shifter ] from his Album Information Chase. The music certainly marries well with Office Worker and gives play very similar to an 8-bit game, which I was hoping for when designing it. Start your 9-5 this way : [ http://www.arisfamily.co.uk/alex/worker.htm ]

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bad Karma Vibes : 2009 - Elastic Band Warrior

You always begin to wonder what is going through the minds of a games designer when they suddenly release something that is a little unusual or crazy. I do think though, that these type of games are the most ingenious. I don't want to brag that mine follow in the same way, but sometimes it's good to be different. Obviously, in the right circumstances and promoting anything imaginative in games, is a good way to go about it.

So, here we have Elastic Band Warrior ! You are armed with a Gun that fires Elastic Bands, that will destroy the surrounding Enemy, in order to collect special Crystals eventually releasing good Karma and deminishing the bad around. I got the idea for this game from surreal experiences and circumstances during my life around this time. An all too complex story to tell, but what a great idea for a game eh ?


So, does the plot sound a bit sub-normal ? Nah ! There's nothing normal about this game, just collect those Karma Crystals (10) and all your worries will be a thing of the past. Just to make things a little more interesting, some of the Enemies replicate and you only have a limited supply of Elastic Bands. Isn't that always the way ?

Elastic Band Warrior is my second game designed with Game Maker ( version 7 ) and as before, I was able to get some music for it. Thankfully, Martin Dodd whom I met through a Remix64 Forum Post, had already composed a track previously and just needed to make final adjustments before-hand. I was also lucky enough to have the Music and Sound Effects done for Lightbulb Luke, more of that to follow in a later post.

Get yourself prepared and ready for Elastic Band Warrior : [ http://www.arisfamily.co.uk/alex/warrior.htm ]

Next Post : The joys of being an Office Worker

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Where it all began : 2005 - Bugsy " The Four Seasons "

Although, I actually started getting involved with Game Design in 1988/9 with Phantom - The Mission on the Commodore 64. Then, after in 1995 with Coin Mania on the Commodore Amiga. Bugsy was my project on a PC using Game Maker, version 5.3a to be exact. The Game was based on a Platfomer Tutorial that came with Game Maker, which was studied and pulled apart until I understood the functions of each routine. I did have to ask for help when it came to using Variables for counting the amount of Coins that had to be collected on each Level. Thankfully, the Game Maker Community Forum was helpful and understanding how variables worked really made a difference. We are talking about Global and Local Variables.

Keeping to an 8-Bit style way of thinking, my first PC Game was born with additional help from Darren Izzard who composed the Music, both in Midi and MP3 format. Although, I used the Midi format, as it kept the file size of the main game smaller, ideal for e-mail and webspace purposes.

You maybe interested to know, that Busgy was designed whilst I was living in America and on a Pentium II 266 Mhz IBM Thinkpad with 256 MB RAM and a 2MB Video Card. So, despite it's power, I still managed to get something out of it.

I dedicated the game in loving memory to my mother who sadly passed away the previous year. I am sure she would have been pretty much amazed at the Home Brew Games that I have been creating over the last few years and by the haul of Retro Computer Equipment, but that's a story for another day.

So, the aim of the game with Bugsy, is to collect all of the Coins whilst trying to avoid the various Objects that are trying to stop you. For instance, Birds, Insects and a Boulder or two. There are 16 Levels or four seasons with four Levels in each. You can Download and Play Bugsy at : [ http://www.arisfamily.co.uk/alex/bugsy.htm ] I am thinking about doing a revamped or updated version of Bugsy, which I am hoping won't be too far in the future.

As a first game, Bugsy isn't too bad. I could have done Jump Through Platforms, which would have made the game a bit easier, but as a first and newcomer to Game Maker, it was a good start !

Coming up in the next post : Elastic Band Warrior ( What Bad Karma can do )

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Present and Past - Let's Start with Shapes !

I like to dabble in a bit of Home Brew, not in the alcohol sense ( although I do like to have a Beer or two now and again ), but with my own recipe of Game Design. My Programming Language of choice is ... Game Maker on the PC ! Purely for the reason of it's ease of use and simplicity to some extent in a projects construction, but also for the comfort it has given me since 2004 with Game Design. My main aim is to create original and unique games for all to play and enjoy, even if the progress on two current projects has been a little slow, I am still hoping to complete them by the end of 2011.

So, instead of a past to present show and tell, lets take the current project I am working on and gradually work backwards.

Current ::

Designed in Game Maker 8.0 : Shapes - Mindorama / Music and Sound Effects by Kent ' Trace ' Valden

The aim of this game, is to select a Shape and place it on the corresponding Shadow. Once the Shape is chosen you aren't allowed to put it back down, so placing it, is the only way to proceed to the next Shape. There are currently 50 Levels of play and maybe more. If that wasn't enough, you are against the clock ! Initially, this project is designed to run on a PC, but there is a *real* hope that in the near future it will be ported to run on Apple iOS and Android systems. This process will be achieved via submitting the game to YoYo Games or submitting it personally with a Studio version of Game Maker in 2012.

Current Title Screen - Version 4

 Current Stages Screen - Version 4

 In-Game Screen - Level 9

All of the screenshots show the current working status of Shapes - Mindorama, but the video ( without audio ) demonstrates the game in action.


Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks / months, I will be able to keep an update of its progress. If I were to give an estimate of its completion, I would say about 80%.