4 Hugues Ross - Blog: 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013
Hugues Ross


Games I Play #2: VVVVVV


"...you cannot jump - instead, you reverse your own gravity at the press of a button."

I really like this game. In fact, I'd beaten it once already before deciding to play through again for this post. It's very short, lasting only a handful of hours, but it packs quite a bit of challenge.


AMAZE - 4 - Getting Somewhere

I apologize for the complete lack of posts last week. The weather was incredibly awful, and I didn't get much coding OR playing done until late that week. I'll put up more of Games I Play next week.

Despite my inactivity, I actually got quite a lot of work done somehow. Sprite animation now works correctly, for starters. I haven't really made any updates to the hackish sprite import system, but I threw together a simple collision detection system. It's still not fully complete, but it's good to see more parts of the engine working. I understand that it's rather boring for none of these updates to have any pictures with them. Hopefully, now that things are starting to pick up I'll be able to show future improvements with some screenshots. Here's my current plan:

  1. I need to finish the sprite import and collision systems. I really ought to add some polish to what I've got before I keep adding more. I'll probably put together a simple program to handle exporting spa files too.
  2. I'm going to work on a room system, and writing data files for that. I'll cover this in more detail when we get there.
  3. When I was first testing out the engine, I got it to cross-compile nicely.  already know that it won't work right now, so I need to ensure that I can get it running again on windows. 
  4. I'm going to flesh out the engine a little more by making a very simple game. It'll be something incredibly basic, but it will show me where I need to work.
  5. Finally, I'll tackle sound. I'm kinda worried about that part, but hopefully it'll work out alright. Like everything else, I'm plan on making my own files for it.
  6. When all of this work is finally complete, I'll make AMAZE proper. That should easily show what I need to do to finish my engine. Unfortunately, due to a mixture of misfortune and laziness, it probably won't be done until my next semester at Champlain begins.


Games I Play #1: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

One week ago, I wrote that I was going to start playing my way through my Steam library, writing my impressions of one game each week. These first few weeks, I'll probably be playing around with the format, then I'll try to stick with whatever I find works best.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

The last remaining memories fade away into darkness. Your mind is a mess and only a feeling of being hunted remains. You must escape.
I think I received this game from one of the Humble Indie Bundles. I hadn't really played it before, but I'd heard nothing but praise from the people that had played it. It was, apparently, an excellent horror game. Now, before I give my opinion on the matter, I should warn you that this is the only horror game I've ever played, and that I generally don't play too many 1st-person games(apart from Minecraft). With that said, I honestly didn't enjoy the game too much. The gameplay wasn't too compelling, as you might expect from a game that was designed solely for the atmosphere. This would not have been a problem, but I honestly didn't find the experience to be very frightening.


AMAZE - 3 - Sprites!

First off, I apologize for my super late post. I was aiming to have it up as soon as sprites were implemented, and it took way longer than anticipated. Then, I spent a while carefully procrastinating. Anyway, I can now take png files, convert them into spa files, and load them up into the engine. The files are notably small, as I'm also compressing them with zlib. The current implementation of sprites isn't great, as it was more just a test to see if it was possible to get this setup working. I'm going to spend a few days making general improvements, then I'll move on the interesting bit: Collision Detection.

Also, as I previously mentioned, I'll be posting some thoughts on a game from my steam library tomorrow. I'm planning on trying to do this each Friday. We'll see if that lasts.


New Stuff

Earlier this week, I sorta had a mini-vacation thrust on me. It was a rather welcome surprise, but it's been slowing my development speed a bit. Anyways, because my family is staying by a lake, my sister and I went for a swim together, and had a rather long talk. Normally, our talks are either shouting matches or long, rambling, one-sided conversations about things that only one of us cares about. This time, however, our chat was rather productive. She produced a couple ideas for my blog and youtube channel that I want to try out. 

The first idea came from a ridiculous problem that I have, which is that I've got way too many games, and cool new ones keep coming out. My Steam library is rapidly approaching 1 hundred games, and I haven't played most of them. The solution is to work my way through my game library, and spend a while with each one(I'm thinking a week, but we'll see). Then, I take some screenshots and write about the game on here. One of the big upsides of this is that it'll provide me with a ton of non time-based content that I can keep around for those weeks when I've got nothing to report. It'll also let me diversify this blog's content, which I've wanted to do for a while. After all, this is DF's Odd Blog of Everything, not DF's Odd Blog of Development Status Reports. It's also a great way for me to actually play my games rather than letting them gather dust, so to speak.

The last one might make sense, but this next one's pretty weird. I guess it's a type of strange pseudo-Let's Play. The method is simple, though:
  1. I record myself playing video games.
  2. My sister commentates the videos in post, having never played the game nor viewed the video. 
In other words, it's a blind commentary...of someone else's gameplay. I kinda want to try this. I have no idea how it'll work out, though. I'm sticking with the first idea, but I'm not promising anything on the second one.

I'll try to get the first post of Idea #1 up next Friday. I'll also keep trying to make one unrelated post every week, just as usual.


AMAZE - 2 - Data

Recently, it's been pretty slow going working on AMAZE. Currently, the two biggest obstacles are collision detection and asset handling. I'll cover collisions in a later post, as it's a bit lower on my to-do list. In the past, I dealt with assets in a very simplistic way. I'd toss a bunch of PNGs, WAVs, and OGGs into a folder, then call it a day. I'll be the first to admit that it's not a very professional solution. From now on, I'll be using custom data types for assets, with various extensions. The first of these is SPA, for SPrite Asset. In the past, I'd make a PNG file with each frame next to each other. Surprisingly, it was quite a pain to make these, and that's why I use so little animation in my games. I'm writing a simple conversion program right now that'll convert a bunch of PNG files into a single SPA file, along with some simple pieces of data, like the sprite's origin point, and some options for making collision masks(I'll cover those in greater detail later). Right now, I'm writing the code that parses the PNG files, and it's rather boring. that's the main reason why I'm taking so long. Once that's done, it'll be easy to add sprites to my engine, and then I can tackle the problem of collision detection.