Tuesday, August 9, 2011

History, Part 1

I thought I'd post some history....

Early 2008 or late 2007, B and I decided we wanted to make games. I started teaching myself Flash and AS3 (Action Script 3, an object-oriented programming language). I'm not really a programmer (I'm an animator), but I was learning programming. It was pretty hard at first, but I really got to like AS3. I also really grew a hatred of Flash, but it was pretty much the only game in town for making small web games. Flash is such a clunky and buggy piece of software.

I decided to pick something that I would enjoy learning and might be easier to do. I started with an old school 2d shooter-style game.


Here are a few different versions and experiments I tried out..
(click once on the flash area and use the arrow keys to move around and the spacebar to fire)

Furthest along:

I experimented with different blur effects. The CPU overhead is high on these:

Here are a couple of star tests:

All the motion in Glactin was done in code.
I learned a lot working on Glactin. I learned how to move objects in angles. It's easy to move things straight up, down, right or left, but you have to use math to move them at an angle. I also learned how to draw everything in an off-screen buffer and show the image after drawing. This improves quality and performance.

Once I'd learned enough programming to feel like I could tackle something more complex, B and I decided to work on a game with more appeal than a 2d shooter. Perhaps someday, I'll go back and make a 2d shooter. I do like them and we've got lots of ideas on how to make a fun one.

We decided to work on a Tower Defense-style game.

Here you can see the work we did on Robot Attack! Advanced Tower Defense.


This is a programmer's testing version. That's why you'll see buttons to the side. When you hit Play and go to the game playfield, you'll see very rough programmer art. We would have replaced everything with higher quality artwork.

I learned how to work with sound effects and music in Flash on this one. I also learned how to do pathfinding so the bad guys can walk around and find a path through the game board. Oh, and let's not forget isometric game design, collisions and a matrix for the movements. The 2d board to the right would not be visible to the player. I used it to calculate the movements. Like I said, I'm not a programmer, so I had no experience in any of this stuff.

You might notice the web link at the bottom is www.fatpiggames.com. We originally considered Fat Pig Games, but felt some of our players might not like that name, so we made our pig CRAZY! We really are much happier with Mad Pig Games.

In the game board page, you can send bad guys and place units on the board. The bad guys currently collide.

I'm writing this and bringing out the old, unfinished work so you can see how projects evolve, change and sometimes get dropped. For us, each project was worth the time and effort as it helped us learn and refine what we were after.

While we were working on the Tower Defense game, and realizing how much work the game we had planned would become, a friend of ours suggested we do a less complex and more popular game. A solitaire game.

We decided to work on a Klondike Solitaire game.  More about Mad Pig Klondike Solitaire (our first game on the iPhone) later...

After we finished the first version of Klondike, we started experimenting with another game idea with a couple partners. We ultimately decided to not finish it, but here you'll find our test:

You'll need to click on it and then you can use the corner navigator, or arrows, to navigate. You can also click and hit the spacebar to center on whatever is selected or where you clicked. The planets are random every time you refresh the page

The rectangular buttons on the right: First one does nothing. Second shows a prototype list view. Third one shows a radar view prototype. The bottom two show a possible effect when you lose some equipment during game play. 


B did most of the planets and I did the programming and star field graphics/programming.

We will post more in-progress art and tell more of the story of Mad Pig Klondike Solitaire in future posts. 


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