Friday, December 11, 2009

Game in a day 1

Well, not much going on in Darkened Dreams 2 right now because we're gearing up to do a game in a day! We're going to be getting together tomorrow and trying to crank out a game. More info next week!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just a heads up....

It's been nearly a year after I stopped working at Sensory Sweep (still haven't been paid my back wages yet). There's a news article that came out today that tells what's been happening with that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dark Cloud....Not that bad

Just as I was getting ready to move onto a different game my stubborn streak came out and I was determined to finish Dark Cloud. I was annoyed at my stubborn streak but I guess that's all that's keeping me still working on DD2 (yes, I AM still working on it!) so I guess it's alright.

Once I got Ruby, the genie, on my team things got a lot better. She's a ranged fighter that does decent damage. Ranged is important in Dark Cloud because those weapons don't wear out so fast. I basically only used her whenever I had a choice. This cleared up a lot of the stress in the game and I started having fun figuring out how to level up and modify the weapons. I stopped working on the main character because his melee hits would still take a lot of damage while fighting. Plus he still looks stupid.

Still, if you have a team of characters to play with you shouldn't be forced to use the other characters. Especially when there is no story, rhyme or reason as to why they should be used. A "mysterious force" making me play a certain way just makes me annoyed, as well as having arbitrary gaps in the floor that make me switch players to the cat girl to jump over it and immediately switch back to the player that I like playing as.

The bottom line is, after I got Ruby the game became fun. I am actually interested in getting the next game after I finish the other games I got. Also, it was good to know that the real Dark Genie (spoiler?) actually looked pretty cool.

But onto Darkened Dreams! I got abilities working in and out of battle so that's cool. Trying to decide what to work on next. Peter and I are getting together next week to try to make a game in a day. Should be interesting!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Dark Cloud

I've finished Sly Cooper. It was fun and not too long, plenty of moves to learn and good action. I'll probably get the sequel after I finish going through the rest of the games I bought.

The current game I'm playing is Dark Cloud. Most of the games that I got are games that I found on top 20 sites. Dark Cloud was one of them, but I just can't imagine how anyone thought it was that good. You play as a skinny kid with plastic hair that wears a green turban. A dark genie was released that destroyed half the world in a single day. The fairy king, realizing that he and his people were outmatched, decided to lay the fate of the world in your inexperienced hands.

Your job in the game is to collect all the parts of the villages and put them back together. This might have been interesting, but after seeing the people at a festival in the introduction I just couldn't care about them enough to want to put their village back. One of the villagers is named Macho. He's about three or four of your character and he wants his house next to the dungeon so he can fight (though it's just to work out, he never helps you) and he wants his weights placed at his house etc etc. Then there's the fat guy who sleeps all day and wants me to risk my neck to bring him his candy box. Then he gives me a piece of cheese. I'll go off about my (in-game) mom later.

This might have been remedied by making the dungeons fun. They're not. I was concerned at first about my 'thirst meter'. If I run out of water, I start losing health and can't fight well. This turned out to not be a problem (at least not so far, I'm still in the first dungeon) since there is usually a pool on each floor that I can just walk into and I'll be full of water and life. No, what REALLY got me is the hit points on the weapons. I would go through a bit of the dungeon floor then I'd have to leave so I could run back to the mayor's house where he would give me one package of 'repair powder' which magically fixes weapons. So I'd talk to him, use the powder, talk to him again then head back to the dungeon. Later on I had four weapons, but I still had to leave the dungeon after only one floor because all my weapons were about to break. Then I had to go through the boring process of talking to the mayor, getting one pouch, healing one weapon, on and on until I finally healed all my weapons then went to play through only one more floor before having to run back. When I finally got the shop guy and his house and all the items that made him happy enough to start selling me things (c'mon man, you need to be bribed to sell things to me after I saved your life and your home?) I ended up selling a good chunk of what I'd found (most monsters don't drop cash) in order to heavily invest in repair powder so I could actually go through more than one floor without having to run back and forth all day long.

Which leads me to another reason that I can't care less about the villagers. They can't care less about me after I rescue their 'atla' (soul? essence?) from the dungeon, dredge up their homes and possessions and kill tons of monsters and undead that live right next door. For getting all their possessions back to them they'll give me something basic (thanks for the single piece of cheese). Does anyone offer to help me? Don't they realize what happened? If I died in the dungeon (which I did) would anyone ever do anything useful again?

Duels. Some monsters are 'too strong' to actually fight, so I need to duel then instead. This is basically a poor man's rhythm game with no music. These are easier than regular fights, especially against those lousy cave bats that fly just above where my sword swings half the time. The second duel was against a mysterious guy who wanted the bracelet I got from the fairy king. He told me that I had no hope of beating the dark genie, which is pretty much what the fairy king said.

I tend to agree. I'm still slicing away at bats and crap and I can't level up. I can only use the weapons until they have enough xp to level up. Level the weapon up enough and it can change to a stronger, different weapon. Apparently the weapons are made of Pokemon. I did manage to break the weapon I'd put the most work into because my last hit took down more weapon hp than I thought it would. It was like losing a few levels because it was my only decent weapon.

I did get my first ally though. It was a cat I rescued that I used a potion on so she became kinda human. Her slingshot is super weak at the level I'm on. It only does 1 point of damage to the big enemies which have lots more HP. So by the time I've killed ONE of them my only weapon is about to break. Want to know the best part? I'm on a level that will only let me use her. So she can't kill anything, but I need to kill everything to find the key to the next floor. I'm stuck. Even when she died (didn't take long) it gave me the option of switching to the main guy or losing half my money. But it wouldn't let me switch.

That's not the only kind of limit that they put on you. There are floors that make it so that your weapons LOSE exp each time you kill something. Why? Because the makers hate you. You HAVE to kill to progress. Killing hurts your weapons like crazy, but at least you get a little weapon xp for it so you can eventually get stronger, but on these levels it makes playing the game a punishment. (regular levels are just a chore. The difference between cleaning the bathroom and cleaning the bathroom with your tongue.)

On the bright side, it made playing Destroy All Humans all that much more fun.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Old Code and Glass Cannons

There's a well-known saying among programmers. "If you haven't seen your code for 6 months it might as well belong to someone else." Meaning that your own code will make a lot less sense if you haven't dealt with it in a while. It's been a while since I went through the chain of events that happen for combat. I tried to catch up while watching a TV show, but it just wasn't going to happen. I'll give it another go tonight without a TV show in the way.

Instead of complaining more about my code, I'll give my first impressions on an older game; Sly Cooper and the Theivius Racoonius. My first time playing it was pretty short, since I'd got a number of used games and wanted to make sure they all worked.

In the first stage I got a little confused because it apparently only wanted me to die when I was sure of safety. After my first heist I was attacked by a cop with a big gun. I was about to make a run past a bunch of cop cars to get into my van, but decided to hold back. The cop proceeded to shoot the same cop car over and over. I felt pretty darn safe since she wasn't aiming anywhere near me so I went into first person view to look around to see if there were any pickups or anything. I didn't see anything so I went to regular play, but before I could go anywhere I got shot and it was game over. She spent about 1 minute just blasting her own cop cars before finally aiming at me!

I was annoyed at having to start over so I tried to jump off the building. I couldn't. Then I got somewhat serious and started going through the level again. As I was going I jumped at the edge of the building again just for laughs and I flew off the edge and died again.


I played it again later since it turned out my copy of ratchet and clank had a scratch that wouldn't let me go further than I was. I rushed through the first stage this time and got to the main story. This is when I found out that Sly Cooper is a glass cannon. Very powerful, but can't take a hit. There was a huge enemy swinging a hammer that looked twice my skinny raccoon size that I took out with one hit. Then I saw some vines with thorns and I decided to hit them to see if they'd break and give me coins like a lot of other things were. Apparently the swing brought me a little too close and I was instantly killed.

Despite all my deaths I actually am beginning to enjoy the game. It's cutesy, but still fun.

Not that anyone ever comments on this blog anymore, but what do you think? Is it good to get an update of what's happening and a short game review, or am I getting too off-topic by mentioning anything but Darkened Dreams 2?

P.S. There hasn't been any art on this blog for a while. Peter, would you be so kind as to post some art?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Guest Post

Before you get all excited, I should clarify the title. No, I didn't get someone to replace me for a week. Jay at RampantGames unfortunately had to go on vacation in Hawaii (poor guy!), so I did a guest post for him. It's not great, but it's better than nothing. Here it is!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Display Redone

Okay, the creatures are no longer limited to being in boxes. Instead they spawn in a random location in a pre-defined space. Now we can see the large monsters with no problem!

Part of the reason that I had even set things up in boxed space was to make it easier for me to write the clicking code. The easiest way was to just allow a click on any part of the picture, even parts that were invisible (0 alpha). If pictures overlapped then it would be very easy to click on the wrong picture just because it was a part that you couldn't see and couldn't tell which was in front.

That's the other problem that I fixed last night. Now button presses will be ignored if they happened on something that can't be seen and will proceed to check whatever else may be behind.

Now it's time, finally!, for me to get back to working on the abilities. It's been a long time since I first was about to work on abilities, and I've changed a lot since then. It will be very satisfying to me to finish off the abilities because that means that I'll be getting past where I had stopped to look back so long ago. I'm excited to finish this off, get battles looking even nicer, and then move onto new things!

The big question is, what next? Should I focus on multiple maps (overworld maps and dungeons) or NPCs? What do you think?


Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Display

So I ... wait, I last posted a month and a half ago? Crap, sorry about that. I got a new job and my schedule got changed around.

Anyways, both Peter and I are doing triple-time at the moment. We both have full time jobs, we both are working on Darkened Dreams 2, Peter is doing art for another company in his spare time, and I'm working on a tool for editing sprite sheets for use in 2D games. Also, we're married (not to each other >_>) and each of us has a small child. That's why there hasn't been too much progress lately.

Not to say that nothing has happened! Peter's been getting me new art, and I've managed to speed things up. We had a problem with timid creatures grabbing a spot in an opposite direction from the hero and run through the path-finding code to find out how to get there. Unfortunately, because of the test map setup this led to a nasty problem. They would almost always choose something that was outside of the boundaries, use up some time trying to find a non-existent path until hitting the limit of places I allowed them to look, try a different direction which, likely as not, ALSO ended up outside the boundary!

If we had more than one at the same time looking like that it would slow the game down considerably. I started testing to figure out what I could do, then realized that I didn't even need to get them a path. They weren't trying to get to a certain spot, they were just trying to get away from the hero! The next problem is that since they didn't always run away from the hero (maybe they didn't see you or just don't feel like running) it was hard to tell if they were really running away or just happened to travel in a direction opposite you. Peter got me some recolored versions of the creature icons so I could give them a different color depending on what their AI state was. That's when I found out that timid creatures would run right at you! lol. Then run right past you as if you weren't there. I negated the direction and it all worked right and wasn't slow anymore.

The next problem is with the display. I have things set up so that there are a number of boxes that a creature can fill in depending on the size of the art. It's first come, first shown and they can't be kicked out until you get far enough away from them. This means that once you kill something the bones are just going to sit there forever (not doing any decay and respawning yet). Also, anything that's too big won't show up. I found out that the biggest monster that Peter drew doesn't fit at all, so that made me see I need to rework it.

I've come up with what feels like a good solution, and I plan to implement it sometime this week. I'll let you know if it works :)


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Invasion in an RPG

So I was playing Super Mario RPG and got to a point (near the beginning, not really a spoiler) where the mushroom kingdom was invaded by shyguys. There was a steady stream of them coming out of the castle, so it should be obvious that in order to stop this invasion we need to go and take out the main force in the castle. Is that what I did? Heck no.

See, this is an RPG. Big bosses and main forces will wait while I take care of small fry first. I avoided the main castle like the plague until I had visited every single house and cleared out the few enemies that were bouncing in place scaring people. Because I stopped in houses and defeated every static enemy I ended up with some items that would permanently boost my MP. I wouldn't have gotten those goods if I had rushed in, beat the boss while taking on as few flunkies as possible, and made all the bad guys run away. The people just wouldn't be GRATEFUL that way.

RPGs are great at this. Show something in the story that shows you probably won't be able to get back to this exact spot and it makes the players nervous about actually continuing for fear of losing out on things that they'll never be able to get otherwise.

I personally just think it's annoying to have to search everything all of the time just in case you won't be able to get things later, but what do you think?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Indie Game Night

Last night Peter and I went to an Indie Game Night at ITT Tech. There was a presentation about making games on the iPhone, free pizza, and a time to show off what we were working on.

The presentation was given by Chris Evans of Morphosis Games. He started with the history of the iPhone and went on to describe how big the iPhone market is. In order to become an iPhone developer you need an Apple computer, and need to pay $100 to register. Once you become a developer you get the iPhone SDK (software development kit) and you can put the programs you write on an iPhone. You can also sell your application in the app store, but remember that there are already TONS of apps there. Apple reviews each app before it releases it to the store, and apparantly if apple rejects it they sometimes won't give you enough information to fix it. Yay Apple!

So onto the money! Everyone hears stories about how some game or app has made the developers hundreds of thousands of dollars. But if you don't make $250 dollars you'll never see a cent of it. Also, Apple will take 30% of the money made from the app. That's not really that bad of a deal for a publisher. But you should expect to not make a whole lot of money developing for the iPhone.

Thanks Chris! Onto the games!

The presentation went a little long, so I didn't get to see very many games after I had done a little demoing of Darkened Dreams. Here's what I got to see.

Tusk by Jon
It was a space shooter that he made. A person from Germany liked it and wanted to put his art in it so they did, then Jon was able to sell the game to the German company.

Kiten by Josh Jones
Another space shooter, with an emphasis on the AI. The ships would change colors depending on what AI they were running. Blue for defensive, red for attack, and purple for a little of both. While I was watching the person whoi was playing it was getting slaughtered until all of the ships turned blue to give him a chance to rest and get some revenge. It was awfully nice of them :)

A dancing game by Les Pardew
I hope I spelled his name right. I can barely make out my own handwriting >_<. It's actually being developed on a console, and I was asked not to say a whole lot about it for that reason. In any case, the graphics look great, gameplay was smooth, and there were no noticable bugs.

Radioactive Joe by ???
The creator wasn't there when I got there, and it seemed to have some trouble running so I never found out what it was all about. Something about a redneck named Joe who starts the game in a toxic waste spill...

Tank General by ???
This game was broken when I came by, and the creator was too busy debugging it to answer any of my questions.

Jay at Rampant Games has a more detailed list of games, though what he says for Darkened Dreams 2 leads me to believe that he didn't see all the changes to the maker.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Drawing on forms

A month or so ago Peter was playing with the map maker and was surprised at how slow it was. I then responded, "Yeah, that's currently my second worst bug."

The worst bug was how data was set up. This made it so that you couldn't delete anything, and it took forever to search through (yes, it's a fairly loose usage of the term 'bug'). That's what I've been working on for the past while, and I'm happy with the changes. Now it's time to tackle my new worst bug, the slowness of the map drawing in the maker! I've picked up quite a few new tricks since I started working on the map maker back in the beginning, and I'm already seeing some speed boosts. Just need to finish it and get the game working with the new save data (which should be trivial) before next Thursday. Thursday is the next Indie Game Night, and I don't want any more bugs cropping up like last time!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

How Enchanting!

I've been chugging away on the Maker for the last little while, and I'm getting near the end! I'm almost finished with the items, and after that I can go in and fix the map maker.

The reason that I haven't finished the items part of it (besides what I said in the last post) is that I never really had enchanting set up at all. Now it's all decided, and I just need to change all the item types that can be enchanted, as well as the items that do the enchantments.


P.S. My wife's computer got a virus that deleted some windows files the day after my last post, and we had to format the drive. Thankfully, my friend Steve was able to save our most important files. There was no way we could have gone back and re-taken those baby photos! I was going to pick up the drive from him the next day, but then my car wouldn't start. My dad towed the car to the place he always goes to, and I had to tell Steve I couldn't make it. He was cool enough to not only come back with the drive and the data backed up on DVDs, he also bought us a pressure cooker to replace the one that exploded! Thanks Steve! The next day my car was delivered. It was just a battery that had shorted out.
P.P.S. I was mopping the floor and found the missing chunk of metal from the old pressure cooker a few hours ago. Until now I had thought it had lodged itself in the ceiling somewhere.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Note to Self: Don't Tell Peter...

Note to Self: Don't Tell Peter What I'm Planning on Finishing Today.

It never works.

Califer: "Hey Peter, I'm going to get all the items rewritten and meshed with the new game-maker."
Peter: "Cool!"
Later that day...
Wife: "I need to get some stuff done, watch the baby for a few hours."
Califer: *oof, that'll make it hard to finish what I said I'd do* "Sure."
A little later...

Califer: "What the crap was that!?"
Wife: "The pressure cooker just exploded!"
Luckily no one was in the kitchen when it happened, but the cat did suffer from a minor nervous breakdown as she wandered the whole house peeking around corners trying to find the alien fleet that attacked us.
So then I spent another hour or so cleaning green paste from the ceiling, floor, cabinets, walls, washing the stove, and then of course washing myself.

This was a more dramatic example of why I can never get things done after I tell Peter about them, but it seems that whenever I tell Peter that I'm going to get something done SOMETHING happens that makes it impossible.

Also, everything's been breaking ever since I quit my job. First to go was my DS. Then the fridge, the doorknob, the actual door, the lawnmower, the modem, Darkened Dreams 2, the garden hose...

Peter was nice enough to lend me his DS, since I'm a DS freak and he spends most of his gaming time on Neverwinter Nights now. I gave it back to him last week because so many things were breaking that I was afraid that the DS would be next, and if I had the money to replace his DS I would just get one of my own. So the DS dodged the bullet and the pressure cooker took it instead.

Wait, Darkened Dreams 2 is broken? Yeah. Sorry about that.

I think I mentioned that the maker had some serious flaws and so I was working those things out. In the meantime the data that I have is being converted to a different type so I can reach in and get what I need instead of having to load it all at once. Since the data is changed I can't run it in the game right now, so it's effectively broken. However, after I finish getting the items and the Map maper redone I should be able to get the game working again without to much trouble.


Do I get bonus points for my longest post ever?


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Game Artists (And Audio Guys)

In response to a comment in the last post, I'll add that there ARE in-house musicians at most big studios.

Audio Guys-This is a job for people good at mixing sounds. You may not need to play any instruments as long as you can put things together in the computer, but instrument talent always bolsters what you are able to produce. You don't just do music, though, you'll also be in charge of converting audio from audio libraries into different formats for use in different game engines and cutting audio into the usable/needed parts. And don't forget recording...Many games require voice and possibly other sound effects recorded with a mic. You might just work out of a small room with a little sound insulation, but that's all going to depend on where you go.

Artists- Let's break this up into parts, because there are lots of kinds...

The title "Artist" might apply to you if you, like me, work at a small operation and you pretty much do everything. Otherwise, at a bigger studio, you will get a different title.

Concept Artist-Concept artists usually are very good at using digital painting programs to make the kind of flashy stuff you all like to put on your desktop background. They need to take a few written notes from a design document about characters and environments and imagine the ultimate incredible scene as it might look in the end. They also need to expect the final product to look absolutely nothing like the awesomeness they envisioned.

UI Artist-Creates and designs the life bars, frames, menus, and buttons that go into a game's User Interface. Should be pro at Illustrator, Photoshop, and a little motion graphics like Flash or After Effects for some of the more polished, cooler stuff. Expect to redo the interface 2 or 3 times, since no matter how cool it is, by the end of the project, someone will get bored of it and decide that's because it wasn't as good as he originally thought.

Character Modeler-Must know Maya and/or 3D Studio Max typically, and have a knowledge of how to create characters that animate/blend well. You'll also want to know how to get your character to look amazing, even with a polygon count limit. For low-polygon models, that means less than 500 triangles usually. For hi-res stuff, you may get up to 2000, 5000, maybe even 7000. But you'll want to also understand mapping UV's for texturing, painting texture maps, painting specular maps, and painting normal maps. You'll be working with model exporters that are sometimes built in-house, because game engines don't use maya binary or max files directly.

Environment Modeler-Much like a character modeler, but you are expected to make environments that fit the poly-count limitations and keep everything within a certain art style for the environments. You may also have to do lots of environments very quickly.

Technical Artist-Can mean a number of things, but I think most common is for this person to be in charge of adding rigging (animation functionality) to character models. They also write scripts for 3d software that aids in production for the other artists (or themselves) to use to speed up those dull, repetitive tasks.

Animator-This is what I used to be...Usually means taking 3d modeled, rigged characters, and making them do all the actions they need to do in the game. Can also include cutscenes, but sometimes there is a whole other position for that "Cinematics Animator". I got to do a little pixel animation as well. The "funnest" part is trying to use animation exporters which turn your animation data into usable game data.

Storyboard Artist-This person visually plans out the game's cutscenes, he usually has to work from a script and he should have a great knowledge of cinematography (camera angles, types of camera movement) and he should be able to whip out cool drawings in all kind of perspective very quickly, showing lots of character emotion.

2D Animator-You don't see this much any more. I was just an animator and I did this a little bit with pixel animaton. 3D animation is much cheaper to make now, so learn the 3d stuff if you want to make games professionally. 2D is still cool though, so having this as an extra skillset will help.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Want to work in the game industry?

I've had a few people telling me that they want to get into the game industry. Since I don't have a lot to say about DD2 right now (I was on vacation last week, studied alternative methods of storing game data the week before, and have mostly been looking for a new job this week) I thought I would go over the different positions in a game company.

Producer - These are the people that talk with the publishers and are basically the boss of a team. They make sure that everyone is working on the right thing and that everything will finish on time. Producers need good management skills and good writing and speaking skills.

Designer - Designers are the people that not only come up with ideas about games, but also the people that end up doing a lot of the grunt work on a game. For example, while making My Japanese Coach we would get a large sound file from a two hour recording session. A designer would then use a tool to cut the sound files, name them, and get me a list of sounds that had pops or clicks in the recording that needed to be redone.

Programmer - Programmers are the people that write the code that makes everything happen. For major games we usually use C/C++. Smaller games may be written in C# (such as Xbox live arcade games), Java, Flash Actionscript, and even PHP.

Artist - Artists are the guys that make all the action worth looking at. I'll let Peter go into more detail about the types of artists that work on games since he knows a lot more about it.

Tester - Yay! Play games all day long and get paid for it! Hehe, sorry. It sounds a heck of a lot better than it is. First off, the games that you are testing are not finished games up until the very end, so you'll be playing a broken game. Over and over and over again. Also, you don't get to just choose which games you'll be testing. After a few months of testing on Barbies Fabulous Pony Ride you might not be so excited ever the idea of being a game tester anymore.

Of course there are also the other jobs that will be in most companies, such as human resources and IT.

Is there a job you want to about in more detail? Any question? Leave a comment!

Monday, May 4, 2009

IGDA Night

I think I've mentioned that I'm a member of the local IGDA (Independent Game Designers Association). Every three months they have a big get-together where we can display the games that we're working on. Two bloggers mention what games where there, and of course they both mentioned us! Check out Rampant Games and Monkey-Time for more information. And as Jay at Rampant Games mentions, the game did crash a few times during the night. That'll teach me to try adding new features as I'm walking out the door to demo it. >_< I did get all the bugs fixed the day after.

Also, what most people got excited about was the game maker. So I took another look at it and ... didn't like what I saw. Sure, it's nice and easy to use in many instances, but it still has a few things in it that I think will be an inconvenience later on. So... I'm re-writing it. Not really from scratch, but I won't be finished this week. I'm also looking at saving the data differently, since the current method requires me to have all the game data loaded at the same time.

Lastly, when Peter and I were chatting we came up with a new game idea. By this time the response from us was just to write it down to look at it later. By the time we finish Darkened Dreams we will easily have more than 100 game ideas.


P.S. Good to know we at least have one reader left.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Here's what it looks like. Our first "screenshot" with "final" art.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Feelin' RACEY

In the world of Darkened Dreams there are two different races. There are the humans, the normal inhabitants of the world, and there are the Heroes, the creatures summoned from a different planet to combat the encroaching darkness, kill annoying creatures, and in general be heroes. Since you can't play as a human, and can't get a human on your team (since they're all either too lazy or too weak) the difference in race isn't anything that I had to worry about code-wise.

The thing is, Darkened Dreams isn't the focus anymore. I'm sure that there will be people out there who want to have different races in the game, so they can have a group of a human, an elf, an orc, and a cute sidekick thing they make up just for their game. Because of this I've put some extra effort in to allowing players to make races and classes in the game maker.

Peter's been getting some work done on the UI, and it is looking NICE!! I'm not quite finished putting it all into the actual game yet though. I'm sure Peter will get a new screenie up when he's got it 100% ready.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Darkened Dreams has lost the focus

That sounds kind of bad, leaving it just like that. The reality is that Darkened Dreams is no longer the main focus of our current project. What it is now is a RPG making tool. I was considering giving it a nice name since Darkened Dreams is going to be the name of the first mod that you can play with the maker. RPG Maker. That sounds good. Oh wait, that name is taken.

The question that should shoot up first is "Why are you making an RPG making program? Doesn't RPG maker already do that?" Yes, it does. There are a few problems with it, however. It can get pretty complex in trying to figure everything out, and it's pretty expensive. The DD2 maker will be more simplified, as well as being cheaper. You can even make games and post them on our site to sell them. Also, RPG Maker employs a traditional view, where DD2 maker has a new style of gameplay. Check the movies if you want to see what I'm talking about ;)


Friday, March 27, 2009

What am I doing?

I've been building us a nifty website. It's going to be Flash based, so things will move in a fanciful way. Should be online in a week or two, I'm guessing.

Friday, March 20, 2009


It's come to the time to put fighting into the game! There are a number of things that will be different about fighting this time around from the original game. For those just joining us, the original game can be found here. The fighting is now going to be time-based instead of input-based. If you haven't selected a special ability or item by the time you need to have an attack in you will simply attack with your weapon, so it shouldn't be too hard to use.

Another thing that will change from the original is the accuracy. Missing happened far too much at lower levels. You could get a whole page of "you missed the bunny." "The bunny missed you" before getting a hit when you were just starting. There will still be a chance of missing attacks, but it will be relatively rare (5-10%).

I hope to have all the timing set up correctly before going to bed tonight, but actually doing damage, showing the numbers, and showing the damage animations will have to wait until at least tomorrow.


P.S. Peter's been getting stuff done too. He should probably post soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

They walk, They LIVE!!

It used to be that there were a few ugly little monsters that would sit on the ground and not do anything. You could get close to them, you could look at them, but that was all. The items were much better because you could pick them up and you could drink the potion to heal yourself.

Now the monsters are on the move! They'll randomly travel around their location using a path-finding algorithm. I've also put the path-finding algorithm on the player so that when you click on an item that isn't close to you the Hero will walk up to it and pick it up.

There were a few bugs because I had to rewrite some hefty sections of code, but it's crash-free now and almost ready to go on to the next step!

But what is the next step?


P.S. Yes, I do know what the next step is. I just want to have something to talk about next time.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cough Cough, Hack Hack

Funny thing about programming. You really need to be able to focus on what you're doing in order to get anything done. Funny thing about sick, it's really hard to focus on things correctly.

So, I haven't gotten a whole lot done this week. I just got over being sick yesterday, and my wife is still a little sick. Miracle of miracles, even though we were both sick for a week the baby never got sick!

But this isn't a blog about my home life, it's about Darkened Dreams 2! It WAS worked on! I cleaned up a problem on movement and got to the next level of overhauling the collision system. There are still a few bugs in it but I hope to finish those tonight and get auto-move working correctly.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Achievement Unlocked!

We've got some good news! Darkened Dreams now takes up the first two slots in a Google search! Take THAT, emo poetry!

Also, a week or so ago I visited the local Independent Game Developers Association (IGDA) meeting and showed off what I've got for Darkened Dreams 2 so far. Two bloggers made mention of us! Check out Tales of the Rampant Coyote and MonkeyTime. Be sure to check them out, they were both pretty positive in their previews.

As for what's been going on here, I've been sick the last few days, as has my wife. Fortunately we've been able to keep little Celeste from getting sick. I haven't got a lot done, but I did notice that moving around wasn't quite to my liking so I've cleaned it up a bit. I'm hoping to have enough time to get the monsters to move around on their own before Saturday, but unfortunately I can't promise anything.


Thursday, February 5, 2009


Now we've got monsters showing up on the top screen! I even got a screenshot to show you how it looks now. The further a monster/item is away the more faded out it will be. I've also got some icons in to show how close you are to if (difference is color), plus a number to match on the map.

And how about those monsters? I think Peter needs to practice his art skills a bit . . . (kidding, of course. This is programmer art through and through.)

Fairly soon I'll be putting in creature movement. I already have it set up in the maker where you can choose what kind of AI it will use for moving around. Some examples are 'Timid', 'Aggressive', and 'Pack'. Once we've got them moving around all nice and everything it'll be time to beat the ever-loving crap out of them!


Friday, January 30, 2009

Going the Distance

There's a big problem with trying to display the map as top down, but the top screen as side-view. That problem is that we need to show how the map matches up with the top screen. I've set up a system so that if you are far away from the item it appears in the distance at 1/4 the size, and when you get close enough it moves to a closer position. When I got it all working I tested it out and . . . it's busy. Really busy. Once the animals and such get added in it'll be a real mess. So now I need to undo all that stuff and get a new way to do it.

Peter had a good idea of how to handle it, and one of my friends from IGDA had another one. I'm going to try using the both of them to help get the idea across. Once that's all set up it's time to make the animals/monsters do the same!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year!

I've got to admit, I haven't gotten a lot of work done on Darkened Dreams lately. Working a full-time job and having a baby around took a lot out of me :)

But I've got some more stuff done now! Just this week I got the mouse enabled, set up a button system, and made it so you can pick up items from the ground using the mouse.

I've also got an inventory screen basically built. I just need to add some button information into it so it can display your inventory and let you drag and drop items.

Should be fun!