Monday, May 30, 2011

Official website coming! Yay?

After I get paid for my most recent jobs I'll finally have the money to purchase a decent server to host my portfolio website on. Huzzah! This is very exciting for me. The basic website is already done, but there's no doubt that I'll be improving it once I get the website up initially.

This is going to be great!

Protector Rush -- Play it Now!

So, Protector Rush didn't make it so well on FGL. Go figure, huh? Oh well, though! I'm going to put it up on my dropbox so anyone can play it. Have fun!

For some reason the game's view is totally expanded beyond the intended frame when in fullscreen mode. If anyone knows a fix to this, please drop me a comment.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Action Non-Action Game

So I was sitting here thinking about “what games are like” and about how they reward players. Psychological characteristics of games and all the like. Most action games appeal in two ways right now: “good job!” for killing someone, and through the (supposed) male instinct of putting yourself over someone else.(in the case of multiplayer of course)

Regardless of the particulars in execution, I think it stands that action games reward the player for killing and fighting. That’s probably a big reason why they’re labeled ‘action’ games, after all!

I’m not ready to claim my side on the whole, “should games be about fighting/violence” debate, but I am ready to strike an interesting point.

The epitome of action games which reward violence. CREDIT: G4TV


What if you made a game that involved fighting, violence, etc. but that was not the point of the game? The player would not be glorified for it. The action would be part of the plot, just like basically 100% of literature with violence involved. I’m not saying violence in games is bad, I’m just entertaining this different approach.

Imagine a Metroid or Castlevania where the real focus was on advancing the story. You would traverse levels overcoming enemies, certainly, but the enemies would only be present as a challenge to advance the story, rather than dedicated punching bags.

A great example of this type of game is Sword & Sworcery EP by the Superbrothers. CREDIT: IGN, obviously


One merit of this idea is that it indeed makes more sense if you’re trying to cast the player in the shoes of the protagonist. Unless the protagonist is a blood-thirsty marauder, they’re probably more focused on resolving the current conflict within the story. In a cliché example, “oh no my girlfriend has been kidnapped, I must save her!”, the hero is probably more focused on getting his girlfriend back.

Oh that Castlevania! CREDIT: Gameaxis


The idea of this type of game is that there are no level-up mechanics, no serious emphasis on fighting at all.(that is, unless it plays a role in the story.) Again, the player isn’t rewarded for fighting or killing; it’s simply there because that is your story. Your story, o’rly?

This approach to creating the game demands a different method, of course. Now you must design your game around your story, instead of designing a story around your set of game mechanics. In this type of game, the story is king.

You might be screaming “visual novel!” right now, but that’s not the idea.

Visual novels, while great, they’re not what I’m getting at exactly. CREDIT:


The idea is to create a game which isn’t about rewarding the player for violence or drudgery upon others. It’s a game which is story-focused, but still retains it’s game-like aspects, such as in Zelda or Castlevania, and does not leave itself as a sequence of cutscenes or interactive “quick-time” events.

I’m not saying I’m the first to think this up—I’m not. But these are my musings on the idea. I’m very interested in taking this approach for my next game. What do you think?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fascination with pink?


Mockup Week Day 7: Graveyard


YAAAAHHH!! *huff* *huff* *huff*…. It.. *huff* *huff*.. Seems fitting that a graveyard is under a layer of hot magma. *huff* *huff*

These tombstones are spooking me out, and I can’t help but feel like a nasty monster is going to come get me. The ground here is dark, and the air is filled with echoes of the dead. I don’t like this place.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mockup Week Day 6: Lava Layer


Needless to say, that lava looks HOT. You definitely don’t want to be mucking yourself up in that. Soooo, how far down into the ground are we now? This is definitely not good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mockup Week Day 5: Mineral Deposit


We’ve hit gold, Smithy! Wow! The walls of this cavern are strewn with colorful gems. If only we had a pickaxe. Ick! We just go out of a garden of glowing purple mushrooms, now we’re in a cavern full of expensive gems. Bloody hell, what could be next?

Mockup Week Day 4: Radiant Garden


And as you descend to the next level, you see glowing mushrooms. Apparently you were exposed a tad too much to the poisonous mushrooms from the previous level, since you must be crazy to see glowing mushrooms.

But wait, you aren’t! This mystical mass of otherworldly fungi is known as Radiant Garden, referred to in myths are the best place underground to get a tan.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mockup Week Day 3: Fungi


Well, I see what all that water has done! Moss, mushrooms, and other fungi have grown everywhere down here. Oh my! Let’s watch our step, and hope we don’t pick the wrong mushroom to eat. Gee, this is pretty surreal… I’m sure things will get normal later.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mockup Week Day 2: Wet, Wet, Wet


Apparently someone dug into a huge underground water reserve! This place is wet, wet, wet, and it’s making my boots soaked. Down here its cold and chilly—Staying too long might catch you a cold. Brrrr!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mockup Week Day 1: Dry and True


Dry and True! The dusty, dry, rocky cave that we’ve all seen before. The ground is sparse and rocky; and the walls seem to be red to very much the tone of red clay. The carving of the walls and floors suggest that this cave was not created by natural means; So who did this? Tomorrow we can go deeper to find out!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mockup Week!

Starting tomorrow, every day I will be posting a mockup of a new "stage" in my game.

Stage of what, you may ask? As you descend the Cave you will traverse radically varying landscapes; each unique landscape is a stage.

I will be posting a picture along with a short teaser on what each stage will play like.

See you tomorrow!

Coming First: "Dry and True"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Protector Rush


As a sort of weekend project I decided I’d try out Flixel! With that, I began writing a small flash game which would be sort of a “prequel” to what goes on in Pocket.

It was fun!

Working with Flixel was kind of a pain at first since I had been working with FlashPunk for the past 8 months. That said, me and Flixel quickly warmed up together and became great friends.

For kicks, the game is up at FlashGameLicense. Let’s see if I can get a sponsor! I’ll post it here if it looks like my FGL venture isn’t getting anywhere.


The game was inspired by a certain game in dev over at TIGSource, as well as Final Fantasy XIII and the desire to make a game that’d work on Android phones.

Coming next: MOCKUP WEEK

Friday, May 6, 2011

Just a little piece of art!


Here’s a break from the recent Pocket updates!

A little bit of scribbling from me, this was pretty fun to do. It took about two hours—still need to work on that background if I decide to continue on it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Lately in Pocket's development I've been focusing on some of the things I outlined in my "Pocket's Future" article, along with some other usability and deep code improvements. But, one outward-standing thing I've done since the past update is add a lighting system and some puddles.

These operations are very transparency-heavy, as are many of the effects in my game. And guess what? Flash seems to suck with transparencies.

Some statistics taken on my computer:

When my game is idle in The Pocket it reaches a fairly constant FPS of 125. When I disable the HUD, which is quite liberal with transparencies, the FPS actually doubled. Yes, that's right, up to 250 frames per second when idle.

On average my game took less than a millisecond to update, when in action it would usually take a single millisecond, and in heavy action it can reach 2 milliseconds, with a rare 3. Whereas, the render update constantly takes between 4 and 20 milliseconds. Most of the rendering burden seems to fall on the transparency operations. When disabling all transparencies, my game will stick to the lower side of the spectrum, and with all transparencies turned on in a effect-heavy Cave room the update time will nearly reach 20 milliseconds and above.

With those clock rates, at about 25 ms to update, my game gets about 40 frames per second.. Ehhh~ The ideal rate in my game is 60.

So this brings me to my important point today: Optimization!

It is so very very very important to do clocking tests like these when making games, you have no idea. I'm glad I discovered this now. THIS is why you make a graphic options menu-- Just saying. On a lower-end computer than mine, a player might run at only 10 fps with all effects on! But if I allowed them to be turned off, that same computer could run the game at the desired 60 frames.

Since I'm going to try to support flash devices like Android with this game, optimization tweaks like this becomes even more imperative, I think. Even if update speeds aren't a problem for the phone, battery power most definitely is for every device user, and with that it's important to give them options to lower the CPU usage of my game.

Another very important method I've found in reducing battery usage is allowing the player to adjust the maximum frame rate of your game. Estimating, a game capped at 30 fps only takes half as much battery power as one running at 60 fps. That could mean A LOT for a device user, who manages every task process to conserve their battery. Making my game more power-efficient and easier to run on devices is obviously necessary if I want to make my game at all viable to play.