Saturday, March 29, 2014

Level Up !

For me, the month of March has really dragged its heals ! However, a lot, even if it seems a little, has been achieved on the game development front, but I've only played a few games. So, we are just passing quarter one (Q1) of 2014 already ! Even if at times, everything seems to be moving at slower pace.

Bugsy - Reloaded ::
This month has been more about putting the first phase of levels together, even if they are not fully functional with all the final touches. With only 16 levels you maybe wondering how the game will fair ? Well, hopefully with random actions on certain objects, it will make things that bit more interesting !
For sometime, I have been trying to work out how to do jump through platforms. There are plenty of examples out there for GameMaker GML, some are complex and whilst others are fairly straight forward. But because Bugsy has animation whilst jumping, I had to figure out why part of a routine wasn't working. Well, it was the " { " " } " ( Braces ) that had to be put at the top and bottom of the " IF Statement ". Sometimes it is blatantly obvious where a piece of code should go or be arranged, in this instance, going back to it after a few hours later or even the next day, brought the solution.
The problems remind me of the 1980's, when I used to type a Program Listing from a Computer Magazine like, Computer and Video Games. Either the game wouldn't work or would crash ! It wasn't until going back through the listing and comparing it with what was typed, where the real problem appeared and in most cases could be corrected. Debugging I guess !?!

I had another problem where the collision detection with Bugsy and the room boundaries, more specifically towards the left and right side. For example : When jumping left and holding left on the left side of the room boundary Bugsy just became stuck and didn't move until you let go. This was resolved by changing some of the boundary blocks / object and adjusting some code not to dissimilar to code in the jump through platform block. A simple vertical speed setting with zero was added and now, when you reach the left or right side of the level, you simply slide or fall down to the ground again. When I go about most routines, I usually see if I can simplify them. Platform games are usually quite fun to design, although I do like shoot'em up games. I don't usually like playing or designing puzzle games, even if Shapes Mindorama is in my portfolio. The game took a while to work out the levels and all of those blasted variables ! But as with my games or any other game in the world without them, nothing would work !

The above screenshot is from Level 4 ( Spring ) and those cloudlines are still in there, but the layering, style and colours of the clouds will change to suit the season and weather.

The YouTube clip of Level 4 ( Spring ) in action gives you a sample of what it is all about. The energy bar in this clip wasn't fully functional, but is now and the border box around it, has squared corners, as displayed in still above the clip. Ironically, at the time of setting up the energy bar, the variable and collision detection for the first test wasn't active. Just a tweak and few seconds later, everything was working again.

At this point, I would like to recommend the following YouTube channels that have a great selection of different tutorials for use in GameMaker and GameMaker:Studio ...

Shaun Spalding

Rexx Furry


Games Played in March ...

Grand Truckismo ( Ouya ) ::
Well, for a first play, even after repeated goes, two hours is pretty good going for me. I have to say I found this quite an addictive game and ended up buying it, straight after playing the demo. The Trials games ( Motorbike types ) on most platforms are pretty good too, but those later levels with almost impossible sections to jump on, only leave me more frustrated. I then put the game down and don't play it for ages. I guess that's where you reach a threshold before temper sets in or in my case, a shaking sensation ... time to stop !

Fez ( PS4 / PS Vita ) ::
So, after an on and off stint playing it on XBox 360 and a total of four hours so far on PC, do I really want to play it on another platform ? YES ! At the moment I am playing the demo only on PS4, but will download it for PS Vita all the same. I am just wondering at this point whether the save game position will be available over the cross buy method on the Playstation Network ? Yes !

Next month, I hope to have a few more bits added to Bugsy Reloaded. I imagine the collision detection will be turned on and more text prompts will be in the game. I have been thinking about arrays again for the game Barriers, maybe I can test a routine or two ? But what about playing games ? How about Goat Simulator ?