Recent blog posts
I've managed to get a fair bit of work done on Lagertron (now Lagertron : 1664) since the last post. First off, I hacked together some simple touch controls and got it up and running on the Android tablet. The controls are far from perfect at this point but I wanted to make sure I had a decent performance benchmark that I could check in with so I don't get carried away working on the desktop version.
Once that was working, the next thing to do was to improve the enemy AI - so of course I was bitten by the shiny bug and started tarting up the title screen instead.
Ah, glow. The indie-dev's best friend.
Wow, been a while. So, what's been going down in the Beercave since my last post?
Well, I rejoined the ranks of the gainfully employed back in June. The contracting thing just wasn't working out - think I'm just not mentally wired for chasing work to the extent that's needed. Anyway, the new gig's pretty good, much less corporate and soul-crushing than the last one.
Droidy Shooty Thing's temporarily shelved - I've never been entirely happy with the gameplay, figured I should quit beating that horse while there's at least a little life left in it and come back when I'm a bit less burned out on the damn thing.
In the meantime, I needed a project to keep myself moving. Something simple and fun where I could take classic gameplay and stamp a bit of me on it. And thus was born Lagertron.
Don't know why I didn't make this already.
So yeah, basically it's Robotron goes to the pub. Nasties have invaded the boozer, and only the mighty Beerman can save the beer. By drinking it all, obviously.
So far, it looks a little bit like this:
Not so very long ago, someone around these parts said something very much like this:
Still, I think I've pretty much found my toolset for the forseeable - Unity for 3D and heavy lifting, Java/libGDX for smaller stuff. I'm hoping to be able to bang out smallish mobile games reasonably quickly
You'd think I'd know by now not to go making grand pronouncements of The Way Things Are Gonna Be - seems like it's a great way to bring about Change.
So what happened this time? Well, it seems those nice chaps at Unity decided to make the iOS and Android versions available for FREE for the next month. Since free stuff is my very favourite kind of stuff, obviously I grabbed them as soon as their servers stopped melting.
Which leaves me with a minor dilemma. Do I carry on working with libGDX as my mobile development platform, thereby suffering the twin pains of building my own damn engine and having to code in bloody Java, or do I switch to developing exclusively with Unity, thus allowing me to once more get my C# on at the cost of losing the stuff I've done so far?
For future projects, it seems like a no-brainer, but Droidy Shooty Thing's pretty much done bar the polishing now. Not sure if the productivity gains I'd get from having a solid platform under me and a language I actually like would outweight the cost of rebuilding it from scratch...
As promised in the previous post, here's a short video of my upcoming retro shoot-em-up game for Android - Droidy Shooty Thing.
The gameplay's simple enough. Kill everything, don't get shot and collect coins for bonus points and score multiplier. Coins are spawned when an enemy wave is destroyed - the faster you kill them, the more coins you get.
In which Beerman realises yet again that he's not updated the blog for nearly 2 months...
Bad developer! No cookie! So anyway, I've been beavering away at Beercave Towers for a while, thought it was about time I checked in.
I finished the first fully working build of the client code back in January. Back then it was running a 12-square, 4-continent board for ease of development, and looked a little like this:
After a short break working on other stuff (see below), my hotshot graphics team kicked into gear this week with the first of the art assets - a shiny new game board!
In my last update, I mentioned that I should probably get around to writing up how I got on with Ludum Dare 22. After just about completing something that could be called a game for LD21 back in August (full story here), I thought it'd be fun to have another go now that I've been playing with Unity for a while.
If you just want to play the game, go here, otherwise read on...
Well, since I seem to have escaped being raptured for the third time in 2011 (really, what's going on there? You wait 2000 years for the Rapture and three come along at once) and Piku over at Error Success already beat me to the punch with his review of the year, it's probably time I had a look back over the last solar orbit and contemplate the next phase...
So what happened there then? Well, I finally managed to finish mucking about and release Sheep Snaggers 2 at Retrovision back in May. Unfortunately, the initial release had a sneaky, if stupid bug that only reared its head when I dropped the build on the laptop at RV, so the planned high score contest didn't go off quite as well as I'd hoped.
Once that was out of the way, it was time to put into action the next phase of my plan. I'd been increasingly unhappy with the whole regular employment deal for a while so when events lined up such that money wasn't going to be a major issue for a while it seemed like the ideal time to see if I could strike out on my own.
With that in mind, I handed in my 3 months' notice at the beginning of August, and the country promptly burst into flames.
London : Frenzied Beercave fans demand the release of Gun Bastard
Been a while since I updated, so here's what's been going on at the Beercave lately.
First off, the Beercave has moved. Still getting settled in and unpacked in the new place but I'm back to a point where I can get some work done again.
Playing Gods is coming along nicely. Had a minor hiccup in the early playtesting where it looked like the App Engine server I'd built wasn't really up to the job. I was having some pretty major stability issues with the Channel API, and some concerns about getting it talking to Unity. Fortunately, while poking around the Unity forums, I ran across SmartFox Server, a server platform designed for building multiplayer online games with a Unity API. Since SmartFox talks python it was a fairly minor job to port all the game logic from the App Enging server across, and I'm now much happier with what I've got.
Took a little longer than I'd originally planned - between moving house and finishing my job I've had somewhat less free time than I anticipated - but as of this evening, the Playing Gods server code is feature complete.
Still needs a decent chunk of playtesting to get all the bugs out, but right now it's possible for up to 5 players to play a full game in my not-particularly-attractive HTML UI with only occasional recourse to the "something's gone wrong, resync with the server" button.
Next job once I'm happy that everything's pretty much working is to basically rebuild the client in Unity and swap in some nice impressive looking animations where I've currently got a popup box saying "god X is in ur base, killing ur dudes".
In other news, as of this Friday lunchtime I'm officially an unemployed bum. I'm planning on taking a few weeks of downtime before I start looking for contract jobs, so I'm hoping to start making some serious progress on PG. Depending on how things go, I might just dust off Gun Bastard and see if I can squeeze a little gameplay in there - got a whole bunch of ideas I'm looking forward to playing with there.
I aten't dead.
So the weekly blog/daily update thing never quite took off. I've managed to at least maintain some development momentum though. I've added the world map and territories to the board and got the add chip mechanic in place, and the board currently looks a bit like this:
Not exactly pretty I know, but I've got pretty much all the UI elements in place now so I can make sure the server code is behaving. Right now I'm in the middle of implementing the Wrath card mechanic, so that the various gods can lay down some almighty smitings!
Hopefully I can get the rest of it in place fairly early tomorrow, then there's just the conversion mechanic and victory conditions left to do before I start work on the shiny 3D front-end stuff.