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Archive for January, 2014

January’s finds

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Some new tools, websites and articles you may find useful if you’re game developer or a teacher of game development:

  1. Make Pixel Art – an app to create Pixel Art, including a free online version.
  2. BFXR – online effects tool to create and alter common game sounds.
  3. King, the creator of Candy Crush Saga trademarks the word ‘Candy’.
  4. SteamBox – Valve’s gaming PC for the living room .
  5. Coding is Cool – BBC report.
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EnchantJS – creating games with Javascript

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Last year I had a plan to start learning to create games with HTML and Javascript, and although I made some headway I got lost in the myriad of Javascript libraries. I tried CreateJS, which is free and good, but I felt it was a little complicated for teaching to my class, and I also looked at ImpactJS, which ended up being too expensive. I tried several other javascript libraries for creating games, but quickly ran into brick walls, suddenly unable to find quality tutorials or resources that were easy to understand.

Recently I discovered EnchantJS, which is described as “A simple JavaScript framework for creating games and apps”, and I am happy to report that it comes with some decent documentation that would be suitable for using with my students. Within a couple of hours I was able to implement some basic game elements with EnchantJS – sound, animation and input controls and finally felt as though I was getting somewhere with creating Javascript games. A bit more work is required to get a fully functioning game, but the tutorials and documentation I’ve discovered so far have been very good and have included excellent explanations (or at least better than for other Javascript libraries I’ve encountered).

For those of you interested in following this up, here are some of the resources I’ve found so far:

EnchantJS – download EnchantJS here. Also includes a starter tutorial that explains most of the basics very well.

Penguin Dive Tutorial – a step-by-step tutorial on making a complete game, with good explanations along the way.

CodeLeap – online tutorials on creating apps with EnchantJS. It’s in Japanese, so you may need to use Google Chrome to translate it to English. It has a browser based code editor that allows you to test your code right away.

Crash Course – created by Cal Poly, this course uses CodeLeap and takes you through the creation of a simple game.

Video tutorials – some video introductions to using EnchantJS.

Video showcasing some of EnchantJS features including OpenGL and 3D.

Slideshare on animation with EnchantJS.

Introductory tutorial (Japanese) covers the creation of maps. Google Translate does a good enough translation!

January Game

January 14, 2014 Leave a comment

My plan is to do fewer games this year for One Game A Month, but these games will be bigger and better than anything made last year. At present I’m planning two games – the first is a top-down shooter and the second is a point and click adventure. My plans may change, and I may do some small games each month depending on the optional themes at #1GAM.

The top-down shooter is a project I’m working on with my Game Development students. They’re making maze games and some are adding features such as roaming baddies, shooting, combat and object collection. The game I submitted for January’s #1GAM grew out of the college project, as some students wanted to learn how to make a top-down shooter game. The working title is ‘Spawn of the Dead’, and the object of the game is to survive as long as you can against endlessly respawning zombies. My plan for the game is to add more levels, features, better graphics, sounds and a storyline, completing the game around May or June. You can play the current game (Flash required).

Spawn of the Dead game

The player movement was simple to implement, with the rotational movement and shooting the trickiest part so far. This is all working adequately, so my next task is to work on the zombie AI. At present the zombies simply run towards the player. This presents a small problem as sometimes the zombies overlap each other and get stuck behind walls. I’m trying to figure out a way to get them to behave more intelligently, perhaps moving in different directions if they collide, and trying to find ways around obstacles if they become stuck. I’m not sure how to implement this – perhaps they will have different ‘states’ – seeking the player, avoiding other zombies and seeking a new route. AI is not something I’ve used much, so this will be a bit of a learning process for me. I’m planning to do a few test games to try out different methods of implementing the AI.

Sketch of game

Original game concept sketch

Addendum: testing of the game has identified a fundamental flaw, in that the player can stand in a spot where the zombies cannot get them. This means that the timer can keep counting continuously and astronomical scores can be achieved! This will be fixed by changing the timer to a ‘number of kills’ score.