Gamaddiction

The First Autumn Pictures

Ah, isn’t it a nice time of the year? The trees shed their leaves, people start to dress up, and Summer gets one hell of a beating from the butler of Winter. It’s the perfect time to get work done.

I’m sad to disappoint anybody hoping for some nice autumnal pictures, but if you’re on this website you probably already know we don’t deal in that kind of stuff. Our pixels show something else entirely. Something like this:

Alien Invasion September Snapshot

Alien Invasion September Snapshot

That’s the overlay which is visible when choosing a location where to build a new Bunker. The frontal landscape items are covered with a green/red alpha-gradient. So what’s its story?

If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the gradient isn’t exactly identical. I made two black marks where the landscape items are joined together. As you can see, the one on the right is a bit darker.

After about an hour of digging through the code and tearing my (currently very short) hair off, I fixed it:

Alien Invasion September Snapshot

Alien Invasion September Snapshot

So what happened? Well, that’s what you get for not using exact values for Pi ::- D. For some reason, about 11 months ago, I used 1.55 for the rotation angle of that gradient. I meant a 90 degrees rotation, so that’s Pi / 2 radians. As soon as I used Math.Pi / 2, the situation rectified itself. Turns out, even 0.02 degrees meant a really big offset in the gradient’s aspect, so, there you have it ::- ).

As for why I’m talking in radians instead of plain’ol’ degrees? That’s because the Flash Developers, in all their inconsistency, use Radians for the createGradientBox function, but normal degrees for DisplayObjects.

And now that this is out of the way, let me proudly announce that the new art which Alex cooked up in the past months is finally in place! Here it is, in all its awesomeness:

Alien Invasion September Snapshot

Alien Invasion September Snapshot

New Landscape graphics, actual graphics for Weapon Upgrades (instead of dumb lines) aaaaand… ruins of the past battles litter the hills in the background:

Alien Invasion September Snapshot

Alien Invasion September Snapshot

In order to make all this work, I completely rewritten the shadow system for Bunkers, made major modifications to the Landscape Generator, created new routines to randomly place objects and the list could go on.

So, now, Alien Invasion is officially back on track, as I promised it will. There is still the issue of funds, of which we are really short of. It will be especially hard in the sound department, unless we can secure some funding. But I’ll talk about that some other time KickStarter.

*grin*

Alien Invasion – The Resurrection

Guess who’s back? ::- ).

Fans, forgive me, for I have sinned. It has been way too fucking long since my last confession. Many things have happened in the lives of the people behind Gamaddiction, but that’s beyond the purpose of this post. I am here to say that everything is fine, and, more importantly, a bit of financial pressure has been removed from my life. Not enough to assure the future of Alien Invasion, but enough to make me believe in it again.

In my last post, I promised an update regarding Alien Invasion in “a few weeks”. That turned to be 8 months. During this time, we had to deal with various issues and what’s important is that we managed to settle everything quite nicely.

While neither me nor Alex (the Lead Designer for Alien Invasion) have been top of our game these 8 months, he *did* manage to spawn some awesome stuff. This picture dates from a few months back, and contains some nice visual candy which you’ll be able to see in my next post about Alien Invasion.

 

The Return Of Alien Invasion

The Return Of Alien Invasion

In the lower part of the image, people with a bit of gamer-culture will definitely recognize some weapons. And people with a bit of knowledge about Alien Invasion will recognize some weapons from the game itself.

To be precise, the weapons presented in the image are Upgrades for our current weapons. Until now, I had used temporary programmer art (if you can call a green line “art”) as placeholder for upgraded weapons. But thanks to Alex, I can finally move on and integrate his crafting into the game.

As for the upper part of the image, I’ll leave that to your guessing.

As I said, that image is a bit old. In the meantime, Alex has finalized with all weapon upgrades and he’s thinking about improving in-game explosion art.

Oh, I almost forgot. We also have new landscape art, now with more details! OMG. Of course, these won’t mean much to you perhaps, without a context, but this is a prize for those with good imagination: put it all together in your mind ::- D.

The Return Of Alien Invasion

The Return Of Alien Invasion

So. Is there a schedule? What are our goals? When will you see more info about Alien Invasion? These are all questions which I can’t answer now. Currently, I’m performing resurrection operations on the project so there’s not very much to say. I’m going to start coding tomorrow and then I’ll start seeing at what speed I’m making progress, especially since starting 5 weeks ago, I got hired, full time, as a game developer at a company here in Stockholm.

G3 UI – Version 0.4 – Video

This video presents overall aspects of the G3 UI Library as well as how I work with it in the development of Alien Invasion.

Version 0.4 of the G3 UI Library is featured in the video, and you’ll be able to see most of its features. You’ll also see a bit of the diagrams and source code behind the G3 UI Library and Alien Invasion.

For a technical presentation of the G3 UI Library, read this article.

And, if you’re curious to demo it, go play with this (older) version 0.2 on the G3 UI website^.

The video’s duration is 6:31.

Usage Instructions: please wait for the Video Player to load. It should not take long. Then, press the gray “Play” button in the middle of the Video Player.

Note: since I don’t own a top-notch microphone, the quality of the audio recording is not stellar.

The Camtasia Studio video content presented here requires a more recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. If you are using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Flash Player by downloading here.

Alien Invasion – Waking Up Into 2012

Our upcoming Alien Invasion has just been through a rather rough period. The Planetary Combat mode and the Intro Movie are to blame. I built the Intro Movie at the beginning of October, but I wasn’t satisfied with the result, and neither were the testers of our game. So I had to drop it. It needs to be recreated from scratch.

As for the Planetary Combat mode, that is/was an even greater problem. First of all, the landscape doesn’t look nice enough and secondly, I am not at all satisfied with how the game progresses. It’s too… bland.

Due to these reasons, I had to pause the development of the game for a little while. I needed something to recharge my batteries / reset my brain. That something came in the form of an upgrade to my PC, which allowed me to play a few of the games that have been gathering on my list in the past few years. I hold the firm belief that any game developer should also be a gamer, so I spent a few weeks reminding myself of how it is to be a gamer and how games are supposed to be (fun and, at least for me, challenging).

Alex also had a little vacation during the past few months. I think he was also a bit over-worked at this project. All in all, it was a welcomed break from the routine.

Fortunately, during this break, I came up with a few solutions for the problems plaguing the Planetary Combat Mode of Alien Invasion, solutions which will be implemented starting now.

Alien Invasion version 0.6 is now officially in work. Expect a DevLog post with version 0.6 in the following weeks.

Alien Invasion – Space Combat Presentation – Video

This is the last video in my series of 3 which present Alien Invasion version 0.6.

Here, I’ll be talking about the Space Combat Mode, which is where the Player takes the fight to the Aliens. This is accomplished using Fighter Ships, and you’ll be able to see how their work and see their Special Abilities in action.

You’ll recognize an arcade-style side-scrolling shooter, where the enemy Flying Saucers come in packs, trying to defend their Mothership. At the end of the video, the big bad boss Saucer will make an appearance.

The video’s duration is 8:15. Before seeing this video, you should see the General Presentation of Alien Invasion and the Planetary Combat Presentation.

Usage Instructions: please wait for the Video Player to load. It should not take long. Then, press the gray “Play” button in the middle of the Video Player.

Note: since I don’t own a top-notch microphone, the quality of the audio recording is not stellar.

The Camtasia Studio video content presented here requires a more recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. If you are using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Flash Player by downloading here.

Alien Invasion – Planetary Combat Presentation – Video

The second video in the series of 3 which present Alien Invasion version 0.6, will introduce you to the Planetary Combat Mode, which is where most of the game’s action will take place.

I will present how the defense of a Planet Area goes, starting with the building of the Bunkers, equipping them with Weapons and, later on, with Soldiers. You’ll get to see how the in-game user-interface looks like and how the game keeps the player engaged.

The last part of the video will focus on the Soldiers and the “RPG elements” of the game. You’ll see how Soldiers level-up and how they can be upgraded. I will also be explaining what their skills mean. Last but not least, I’ll demonstrate the usefulness of Cargo Ships.

The video’s duration is 14:20. Before seeing this video, you should see the General Presentation of Alien Invasion. After seeing this video, you should see the Space Combat Presentation.

Usage Instructions: please wait for the Video Player to load. It should not take long. Then, press the gray “Play” button in the middle of the Video Player.

Note: since I don’t own a top-notch microphone, the quality of the audio recording is not stellar.

The Camtasia Studio video content presented here requires a more recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. If you are using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Flash Player by downloading here.

Alien Invasion – General Presentation – Video

This is the first video in a series of 3 which will present Alien Invasion version 0.6. In this video, I’ll show you some general aspects about Alien Invasion.

In the first part of the video, I will mostly be talking about the Map, presenting how the Player can travel from one planet to another, talking about Ships and the hybrid turn-based system which is at the base of the Alien Invasion gameplay.

During the second part of the video, the Tech Lab, Shop, Library, Roster and Starport will be presented to you.

The video’s duration is 9:17. After watching this video, you should see the Planetary Combat Presentation and the Space Combat Presentation.

Usage Instructions: please wait for the Video Player to load. It should not take long. Then, press the gray “Play” button in the middle of the Video Player.

Note: since I don’t own a top-notch microphone, the quality of the audio recording is not stellar.

The Camtasia Studio video content presented here requires a more recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. If you are using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Flash Player by downloading here.

Thunderbirdz: Two Years Later – Lessons Learned – Video

In this video, I will talk about our first released game, Thunderbirdz (developed in 2009 and released in January 2010). It has been almost 2 years since Thunderbirdz was released, so I think it’s time for an objective look over the shoulder.

I will present almost all the features of the game and I will also reveal a few of the mistakes which have contributed to its rather poor commercial showing.

During my narration, you can see almost two games of Thunderbirdz being played. I will also be making a few comments about the lessons I learned from the development of this first Gamaddiction game.

If the video makes you want to… then you can go here and play some Thunderbirdz!

The video’s duration is 20:17.

Usage Instructions: please wait for the Video Player to load. It should not take long. Then, press the gray “Play” button in the middle of the Video Player.

Note: since I don’t own a top-notch microphone, the quality of the audio recording is not stellar.

The Camtasia Studio video content presented here requires a more recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. If you are using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Flash Player by downloading here.

Rounding Up The GFGL

The Gamaddiction Flash Games Library has just made two very big and important steps forward. During the development of Alien Invasion, I added two more very useful components to it.

The first one is The Archivist. It consists of a Class and an Interface, which are used to persist save-game data for Alien Invasion. I also integrated a Base64 utility Class which I am using to provide a human-readable representation of a save-game, which, in turn, I need for Alien Invasion’s ability to show its save-game data in a nice textbox, from where the user can copy, e-mail and then paste on another computer (since moving Flash Player save-game data can otherwise be quite difficult).

The Archivist Class handles all Flash Player Shared Object writing/reading functionality while the Interface represents the contract which any game object which desires to be saved needs to implement. We will be using The Archivist in all our future Flash games, naturally.

As for the name, I don’t think it needs any explanation. Or does it?

The second component freshly added to the GFGL is The Maratonist. Ok, this naming is perhaps a bit too hard to understand, but perhaps once I’m done explaining what this component does, you’ll see the connection with the word “Marathon”.

The Maratonist is a set of classes which is used by Alien Invasion to interact with the social back-end of various websites, in order to submit high scores, achievements and other such social candy. For now, The Maratonist works with Mochi and Kongregate, but a FaceBook implementation is also on the way.

Actually, I built The Maratonist in the context of a side-project I’m developing with a Norwegian company (after almost a year of focusing purely on Gamaddiction, I start to feel the wind blowing through my pockets, and that’s never good). But The Maratonist was always intended to be used by Alien Invasion for social integration. It’s just a coincidence that my collaboration with the Norwegian company required it first.

So, the GFGL is growing and evolving into a really nice toolset for Flash Games Development. When I feel happy with what it is, I might publish it for non-commercial use, or even Open Source it, who knows?

Alien Invasion – Version 0.5 [DevLog]

Development at Alien Invasion has been doing great in the past few months. We’ve included new art and overcame lots of problems. A ton of new features has been implemented and the game engine is almost feature complete.

The game has grown to much more than what I originally had in mind. That also happened with Thunderirdz, although back then I weren’t able to implement a lot of the great ideas that I wanted to. This is not the case with Alien Invasion, because it has a great UI Library behind it (I’m talking about the G3 UI Library, of course) and because with Alien Invasion, I really want to make a power statement.

Originally, the game was supposed to only be a sort of Tower Defense game with an interactive mission selection area, in the form of a planets map. But eventually, the Map became a module with a life of its own. I added the ability for the Player to travel from one Planet to another, using Ships that they can buy from the Shop. And then, I added something even better: counter-strikes by the Alien Invaders. Once I did that, the Map became a sort of Turn-Based Strategy game.

Alien Invasion Adventure Map Mode

Alien Invasion Adventure Map Mode

The Tower Defense part became the Planetary Combat mode, the Map became the Adventure Map mode and, finally, a third module was added: the Space Combat mode ::- D. But more about that one, in a future posting. Actually, I plan to do even better than show you pictures. I plan to release a few presentation videos showing exactly where’s the game at, but it might take me a while to do that because I’m so caught up in the development work. Stuff changes very fast so even if I record a video today, in one month it would be obsolete. So I’m waiting to nail down the engine completely.

Here’s a nice sign of the progress we’re making with the game. The most recent revisions pulled directly from our Mercurial repository. Beware, the text may contain foul words, programmer jokes and other weirdness ::- D.

Alien Invasion Revisions

Alien Invasion Revisions (CLICK to open the image in a NEW WINDOW)

Every version from the above listing takes between 8 and 24 hours of work. And if you do a little math, you’ll realize I’ve been coding at Alien Invasion for more than 1000 hours. That would be a correct estimation.

And, if you want some (very) deep insight into the “mind” of Alien Invasion, check out this diagram I just pulled from Enterprise Architect. It shows just a part of the notes I’ve been taking while working at the specification (you’ll have to click to see it in all its glory ::- D).

Alien Invasion Specifications

Alien Invasion Specifications (CLICK to open the image in a NEW WINDOW)

That’s it for now. Back to work!

I’ll upload some videos soon.