Monthly Archives: May 2009

The super ninja rapid prototyping diary

In the game development world, a lot of beginners have a rather intense hatred for game prototyping. After all, it usually produces a rushed product that’s full of bugs and crappy graphics – a far cry from the uber-sweet, kill-yo-kitten-with-an-axe MMORPG system that they had in mind with all the coolest items, characters and groundbreaking gameplay that they had envisioned themselves making instead.

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Sunday gaming: Cat Gets 100 Stars

News Sunday gaming: Cat Gets 100 StarsRighto, here’s a humble little offering from Nekogames that can test your thinking and reflexes on a lazy Sunday afternoon: Cat Gets 100 Stars is about as simple as it sounds, with the player controlling a cat which, for some reason, needs to find 100 stars inside a small room.

Some of the stars are obvious freebies, while others require some experimentation and a little out-of-the-box thinking. Oh, and simply finishing the game doesn’t entitle you to a backpat: you’ll be rated on speed, precision and the number of jumps you’ve made. We’ve managed to get a five-point average: how about you?

Spotted on the IndieGames blog.

Living on the EDGE

News Living on the EDGEBeware, indies. If you don’t behave, eat all of your veggies or pay careful attention to remarkably contrived IP complaints, then Kotaku says that the Tim Langdell monster will come to take you away.

We were kinda shocked by the news that Mobigames’ iPhone title, EDGE, was taken off the App store because, lo and behold, a certain member of the games industry has a gaming company called EDGE Games and reportedly enjoys being a dick to honest developers when it comes to stuff like game names and other trivial matters.

We don’t really want to go into the gory details: we just strongly suggest that you read these news posts by Kotaku and TIGSource to find out the extent of what has us miffed.

Dev.Mag hopes that this news ain’t true, folks. Failing that, we hope that Langdell doesn’t have any hang-ups about the word “marble”, otherwise Luma are in some serious trouble too.

Plants vs Zombies interview

News Plants vs Zombies interviewOver on Gamezebo, Plants vs Zombies creator George Fan gets a good ol’ chatting-to.

Now, we know that some indies out there dislike the idea of a heartless bugger of a casual game getting all the limelight over innovative and blood/sweat/tear offerings from lonely basement coders, but a cool game is a freakin’ cool game no matter what label it has been given.

It’s nice to read through this interview and receive confirmation of the fact that Mr Fan isn’t just the sort of guy who designs games by shoving pencils up his nose (though we wouldn’t judge him if he did it on the side).

2D Boy game framework released

News 2D Boy game framework released2D Boy has released some nicely-trimmed source code for the rapid game prototyping framework they used to create World of Goo. Awesome? Awesome.

Like any good rapid framework thingie, 2D Boy’s offering focuses on two things: (1) minimising the code overhead for a new game and (2) providing all the laborious basics for developers so that they don’t have to do all that tiresome wheel-reinventing stuff themselves (rendering, sounds, resource management: you know, that old chestnut).

Thanks, 2D Boy! Information gathered via Rock, Paper, Shotgun, who gathered the info from Offworld, who gathered the info from, er, 2D Boy.

Getting More out of Seamless Tiles

We have used tiles to decorate our living spaces for more than 4000 years. Tiles have several properties that make them attractive for use:

  • they can be mass-produced;
  • they are easy to build with (because of their geometric properties); and
  • combinations of tiles lead to a huge number of decorative options.

Early game makers recognised that these advantages of tiles also apply to tiles in computer graphics, and using tiles was (and still is) a popular way to make game graphics.

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Old platforming fun

News Old platforming funOkay, quick post today because we’re lazy and tired. That, and a gigantic electro-bird has just make a gigantic poop on our Internet’s fancy new jacket. Go figure.

Ever wondered what made old platformers great? One would expect new game developers to successfully identify and capitalise on the strong points of these “oldie but goodies”, but this article over on Significant Bits sheds some light on a few game aspects which we honest-to-Cthulhu forgot to consider ourselves when it came to what made those classics so gosh-darn awesome in the first place.

An in-depth and interesting read.

Gamasutra interviews Epic’s Sweeney

News Gamasutra interviews EpicGamasutra won’t shut up about this interview that they’ve got with Tim Sweeney from Epic Games. They’ve made several news posts about it already, not only on their own site but on places like Slashdot too. Guess they’re really excited about this one.

And, heck, why not? Diehard fans of Epic already know that there’s more to these developers than chainsaw bayonets and glitzy engines: there’s a rich and fascinating history behind it all which started way back in the early nineties (gee whiz, remember that era? We feel old already) and built up the company which today would astound millions of mainstream gamers.

You go ahead and read this article while we cuddle up with our life-sized Jazz Jackrabbit plush doll. Because we totally like to believe that we own one.

Narrative: Part 5 – What’s he talking about

Introduction

We’ve come a long way, and we’re almost there! Telling a story can be pretty easy, but really grasping the ins and outs of what goes into proper narrative is a little bit more challenging. But that’s why you have this guide! Before spit-polishing our final story, we need to tackle only one more hurdle!

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The triumph of time

News The triumph of timeWe found this stray wandering around the TIGForums and decided to take it home with us. The Triumph of Time is a realtime puzzle/strategy game thing set in space, with antimatter steadily encroaching upon your solar system and trying to devour all that you know and love. The premise sounds simple enough (and hey, the game really only has a few puzzle elements) but they combine quite wonderfully to promote genuine thinky-ness.

This is a polished version of a former Ludum Dare entry (with the theme “Advancing Wall of Doom”) and it must be said that the level of care involved with the level design has been quite admirable. Get a direct download of the game from here.

New Game.Dev prototype…

News New Game.Dev prototype...Something new comes out of Game.Dev today – well okay, no, it’s not really new, we know, but it’s still important.

Dev.Mag writer Nandrew takes an old promising prototype and expands on it, reworking the control scheme and making even more devious puzzles to solve. If it was ever uncertain whether or not this game has potential merits, Nandrew was sure to expand on the idea to find out.

Make sure you check it out and find out what all the fuss is about.

BSP rendering in XNA

News BSP rendering in XNAAside from Luma’s awesome Marble Blast Mobile release last week (which we’ll keep yammering about until the light finally dies in our eyes – go go impartial journalism!), we haven’t had much to report on from an ever-so-South-African context, so it’s nice when we see more local stuff being kicked onto the front porch.

SAGD community member Korax has released the source for his Quake 2 BSP renderer, coded entirely in XNA. The short of it: the fellow wanted to learn XNA, coded a Quake 2 engine from scratch, and decided to release the source code and a dev diary in the hopes that others could learn from it. The long of it: well, we’re not going to go into that. Hit the link and read for yourself, you lazy buggers.

This gent is obviously looking for feedback, so please leave your comments on the dev page. Cake is also an option.

Back off, indies!

The other day (and by that, I mean “some undetermined date a really, really long time ago”) I was having a typical gamer’s discussion inside a typical gamer’s forum. The topic: piracy and all the pain, chaos, death and homeless devs that it brings about.

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New Game Design Challenge

News New Game Design ChallengeGameCareerGuide.com‘s been holding fancy game design challenges (one or two of which we may have mentioned in past issues) for quite some time now, each challenging inchoate Molyneuxs to flex their design muscles and create something special.

The newest incarnation is no exception, with its relevant topic and somewhat interesting challenge: ‘Create a game that explains the global credit crisis in a fun way.’ We tended to sleep a bit too much in economics 101, mostly because it wasn’t fun by default, so this challenge is particularly clever.

And when you’re done reading through that, take a gander over at this totally relevant (not really) opinion piece on Gamasutra. We particularly liked its writing style, but the content is worth just as much.

Zeno Clash 2 announced

News Zeno Clash 2 announcedThe embers of the original Zeno Clash game are barely cold in the fireplace and we’ve already caught wind of a second game to rekindle the flames. That’s right, Zeno Clash 2 is apparently on its way, this time promising a bigger game world, more expositions and something about RPG elements. Neato!

Accompanying this news are rumours of more patchy/DLCish goodness for the original Zeno Clash.

Read all about it at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

National Defense 2 Review

When he’s not busy correcting the spelling of teenagers on the Internet or cracking the whip over his lackeys, Dev Mag’s very own editor Claudio “Chippit” de Sa has been known to delve in a bit of game development himself. National Defense is one of his creations, and it’s a great example to show what a bit of planning and foresight can do to give indie games an extra sprinkling of class.

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