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1  Games Center / Android Showcase / Blob Wars : Attrition on: 2014-05-10 10:44:49
I'm pleased to announce a new entry in the Blob Wars saga.

Blob Wars : Attrition is a multi-mission, multi-objective 2D platformer for Android devices. It's set between the events of Metal Blob Solid, and Blob And Conquer (both for desktop machines).

Some screenshots:









You can grab it from the Android market, here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.parallelrealities.attrition

Be aware that this is a limited trial version, after which you'll need to purchase the full game upgrade.

Steve
2  Games Center / Showcase / Star Ship on: 2014-03-01 08:08:24
Took a break from making my BFTSS game, to knock together an Android game. It's now live on Google Play for you to enjoy.

In Star Ship, you control a spaceship that must negotiate hazards and collect stars. It's a pick-up-and-play game, that's simple and quick to get in to.

Download:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.parallelrealities.starship

Features:

+ Tilt controls
+ Dodge mines, collect stars
+ 4 different courses to play (B, C, and D are unlocked by playing the game)
+ Global and regional highscore tables

Screenshots:


It's free, so why not give it a go!

Steve Wink
3  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-02-07 21:00:20
A new version is available: v0.4

This version refines some of the gameplay, and fixes that crashing bug for the training missions.

Fixes and updates:

+ Allied star systems will only destabilize if they are near to Pandoran systems.
+ Patrolling a system will raise the stability by 25pts.
+ Rogue systems must have units transferred to them - Squadron units cannot be bought or sold if the system does not belong to the allies.
+ Allied systems in alert status will destabilize until the problem is dealt with
+ A rogue system can only be returned to allied state by eliminating the instigator of the uprising, and raising the stability to above 50%
+ Opposition within Rogue systems will consist of other allied fighters, as well as Darts.
+ Gun turrets (particle, plasma, rocket) are now found within Allied and Rogue systems. When in an allied system, the player can control the turrets.
+ When on a patrol, the player must eliminate all opposition before they can complete the current waypoint.

There will be bugs and stuff, but the game is starting to solidify more. I'm hoping to add the Pandorans in the next update. You can grab v0.4 from here:

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/games/TBFTSS-0.4.140207.zip

The zip file contains a Linux shell script and a Windows bat file. The instruction manual is still pretty thin on the ground, but the whole is mouse driven and uses just the left mouse button (because I intend to port it to Android tablets later on), so it should be fairly straight forward to work out. If not, ask me and I'll help!

Steve Wink
4  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Super Doctor Who! on: 2014-02-02 17:45:21
re: the map editor.

When I made Metal Blob Solid, my map data would simply be a series of numbers:

0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
4 4 4 4 4

0 = empty square
1 = water
2 = slime
3 = lava
4 - 150 = a ground tile
151 - 200 = foreground tile

The map data lived in a multidimensional array:

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private final int data[][] = new int[WIDTH][HEIGHT];


The game would then load the tile set, looking for files called 1.png, 2.png, 3.png, etc. It wouldn't error on a missing tile image, so you wouldn't need to provide all 200. Creating a map editor for this was very, very easy, as it was just updating a number in a multidimensional array.

Consider doing that, if you've not done so already.
5  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-02-02 17:38:02
That's really, really weird  Clueless

I'll have to give it a go on a few other systems. Any one else experiencing the same thing? Maybe it's the version of Java 7 that's been shipped to Ubuntu. Perhaps its knackered.
6  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-02-02 17:01:55
There's also a (short) video here for people to watch, if they're interested:

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/games/TBFTSS01.mp4
7  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-02-02 16:22:39
A new build has been posted:

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/games/TBFTSS-0.3.140202.zip

Compiled with Java 7 (1.7.0_51 - OpenJDK). I'm curious to see if people are able to run this version, or if it's going to fall over again. There are Linux and Windows shell scripts to run.

Unzip, and use either tbftss.sh or tbftss.bat to run the game.
8  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-02-01 22:38:59
I'm going to be adding in some starfields on the battle screen at some point, as well as planet based on the star system you're currently in. The background of the star systems will also be different. But that'll come later, when the gameplay is more nailed down Wink
9  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-02-01 17:52:44
I've been playing around this week with making the battles realtime. However, I don't think it works too well, and can see it becoming far too frantic. With a limited number of units, you'd have to be constantly pausing the game, and keeping an eye on how they were doing.

If anyone is interested, you can see a video of how it would play here:

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/games/realtime.avi

I was thinking that maybe the battles could be a mixture of turn based and real time, but that still presented the issue of trying to manage the units over a large playfield. So, looks like the game will be turn based. I'll likely ditch the level-up mechanic, though.

Incidentally, it's the 5th anniversary of the first book's release, and so to celebrate, I've reduced the prices of the books on Amazon for a limited time. So anyone interested in reading them can grab them for cheap! You can get more info here:

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/news/149-bftss-trilogy-for-just-0-99-each.html

Right, time to crack on with v0.4. Hopefully this one won't suffer from that weird version error when I post it Wink
10  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-29 14:47:08
Apparently, b00 is the build number, which means that's build 0. Not sure that should be the case.

I'll take another look and see what I can find out.

In the meantime, for v0.4 I'm working on updating the combat from turn-based to pauseable real time, instead. I'm not sure that turn based works, as the combat is quite straight forward. I'll see what happens, though. It might end up that the game is too hard in real time Wink
11  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-28 22:31:24
Hmm, that's odd. I've actually compiled this version with OpenJDK 7:

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steve@reddwarf ~ $ java -version
java version "1.7.0_51"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea 2.4.4) (7u51-2.4.4-0ubuntu0.12.04.2)
OpenJDK Server VM (build 24.45-b08, mixed mode)
steve@reddwarf ~ $


Was on 6 beforehand. I upgraded when I wasn't able to run anyone else's projects from here Clueless

Are you on Windows, Mac, or Linux..?
12  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-27 09:38:00
v0.3 is now out.

New features in this version include:

  • Ability to buy, sell, and transfer units
  • Anti-terror missions, where you need to protect civilians
  • Mini radar on the battle screen
  • A bunch of other tweaks
  • Linux shell script and Windows bat file for launching the game

You can download it from here - http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/games/TBFTSS-0.3.140126.zip

I'm moving onto v0.4 now, and have finally settled on how I want the game to play out. Things will hopefully start to stabilize in the next couple of versions, so people won't have to delete their save files with each version bump!
13  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-14 20:50:50
Thought I'd post a little update - some screenshots from the upcoming v0.3. Still using the test systems right now, but planning on getting the actual star systems from the novels into the game from v0.5 onward:


The galactic map, showing a campaign mission active in the Alpha system. At the top, we can see (L-R) the amount of money the player has, the current time (year, day of year, hour), the number of active missions and alerts, the number of star systems belonging the allies, the number of star systems that have gone rogue, the number that have been invaded by the Pandorans, and the total number of units the player has.


The star system view, showing the units stationed there. The short description of the campaign mission is shown, and the player can buy, sell, and transfer units. Patrol and Start Mission are ghosted until the player has selected at least one unit to deploy.


Buying units. You can have up to 48 units stationed in a star system, and cannot purchase more than that. Darts are always free, which is why they cost nothing. I figured this was important in case the player runs out of money and cannot fight the war. Darts are, however, rather crap.


A random event in the Beta system, either an attack on civilians there, or general sweep mission. Random events expire after 48 hours and the player is penalised for not dealing with it (by way of a system stability decrease). Campaign don't currently expire.
14  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Saving and Loading on: 2014-01-11 13:48:14
This is what I do in my games:

1) Create a singleton called ImageManager (or whatever you want to call it)
2) Create a Hashmap to hold the filename of the image, and the actual image itself.
3) Provide an accessor method called getImage(String filename) which will look to see if the image is already loaded and returns it, or loads it, stores it in your hashmap and returns the image
4) Have all your entities, etc grab their images from the ImageManager.

So:

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public class ImageManager
{
   public static ImageManager         INSTANCE   = new ImageManager();

   private final Map<String, Texture>   textures;

   private ImageManager()
   {
      textures = new HashMap<String, Texture>();
   }

   public Texture loadTexture(final String filename)
   {
      Texture texture = textures.get(filename);

      if (texture == null)
      {
         final String type = filename.endsWith("png") ? "PNG" : "JPG";
         texture = TextureLoader.getTexture(type, getClass().getResourceAsStream(filename));
         textures.put(filename, texture);
      }

      return texture;
   }
}


Now your textures and images are stored in a single accessible place.

And with your Entity:

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public class Entity
{
   private transient Texture texture;
   private String textureFilename;

   public void init()
   {
      texture = TextureManager.INSTANCE.loadTexture(textureFilename);
   }

   private void readObject(ObjectInputStream in) throws IOException, ClassNotFoundException
   {
      in.defaultReadObject();

      init();
   }
}


When you create your entity, give it a textureFilename and call init(). This will load the texture (once) and return it for use. The advantage here is that when you deserialise the entity (after loading a game back up) the init() will be called and the texture will automatically be loaded and reapplied.

This code isn't 100% accurate, and something I've put together by quickly hacking up what I do myself, but it should give you the idea and point you in the right direction. You might want to add methods to the TextureManager to delete textures, etc.
15  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-11 08:21:32
Thanks for the comment, Gornova! I'll definitely consider some of those. The mini radar is a good idea, as are the tool tips for a battle icons (which I'll make prettier in later versions).

The interface is something I created myself. The widgets are simply some text with a background and some highlights. Whenever the player clicks the screen, I check to see if they've clicked a widget and invoke its function Smiley

Now working on set missions, and the ability to buy and sell units!
16  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-10 06:51:03
Not quite the weekend, but almost! Anyway, here's the v0.2 download!

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/games/TBFTSS-0.2.140109.zip

Fingers crossed it will run without problems on all machines (certainly runs fine on Linux). The game is still using some placeholder data, such as the star systems (which will be replaced with those from the books), but the actual combat sequences are playable. I'm cracking on with the v0.3 version now.

If you get any errors about serialization, you'll sadly have to delete your save file (tbftss.ser). That'll all settle down closer to v1.0.
17  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-08 09:10:43
Decided to install the latest version of LWJGL (had been using an older version before) and tested on Windows 7. Game loads up and works fine, now. Will post an update this weekend (will be v0.2! woooooo!)  Grin
18  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-07 15:42:54
Hmm, that's a bit of an odd one. Clueless

At first, I thought it might be because the game was trying to get into fullscreen, but the line I use for creating the window is as simple as:

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public GameWindow() throws LWJGLException
{
   Display.setTitle("TBFTSS: Tactics");
   Display.setDisplayMode(new DisplayMode(Constants.SCREEN_WIDTH, Constants.SCREEN_HEIGHT));
   Display.create();

   initVersion();

   initOpenGL();
}


Then again, maybe I should try and force fullscreen false in there. Runs in windowed mode on Linux, but perhaps Windows is a different story. Could also be the DLLs..?
19  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-05 15:41:03
I've just uploaded a new build of the game. This isn't quite 0.2 yet, but it's getting there.

New features include:

  • The start of the campaign (using test star systems)
  • Improvements to the enemy AI
  • A new mission type - Patrol
  • Difficulty balancing

Those who are interested can grab it from here:

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/games/TBFTSS-0.1.140105.zip
20  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-02 20:20:12
I believe that if you do the following, it should work no matter where you run it from:

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System.setProperty(
    "org.lwjgl.librarypath",
    new File(getClass().getProtectionDomain().getCodeSource().getLocation().toURI()).getParent() + "natives");


I don't claim that this will work immediately. I haven't tested it so it might need a file separator in there somewhere or it might need to be converted to an absolute path or something like that. I can't be bothered to look up the docs for all those methods.

Thanks for this, dude! Seems to work fine in Eclipse. Only had to add a / before the natives. So,

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System.setProperty(
    "org.lwjgl.librarypath",
    new File(getClass().getProtectionDomain().getCodeSource().getLocation().toURI()).getParent() + "/natives");


Will see how it goes on my next release. If all fails, I'll just write some shell scripts to handle the launching Wink
21  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-02 14:19:23
Thanks!

I do the graphics myself, yes. I'm not an artist at all, so I'm glad they're at least functional.

As for further game development - right now, I'm working on ideas for the campaign and what it could involve. I don't want to have a linear set of missions, would rather have the player need to secure and keep star systems safe, while pursuing major goals. The fighters will be able to level up (better accuracy, better dodge) and the player will be able to purchase more (if they run out of money, they will need to use Darts until they can afford other fighters again).

The campaign will start to show up in version 0.3 or so, but might still break saves every now again as things change. Hopefully not often, though.

Oh, and I'm working on improving the AI, as I know that that's quite ropey. Something I realised when I was making the game was that, unlike ground-based TBS games, there is no cover and no line of sight. Since we're out in space, you can see everything. I was going to put in a limited sight range, but didn't feel it worked in practice.

If anyone wants tips on how I drew the fighters, I did the following (in Gimp):

  • Drew an outline of the general appearance
  • Filled in the major components - cockpit, wings, etc, with different colours and shades
  • Used a few gradient fills as needed
  • Used the burn and dodge tools to add highlights and lowlights
  • Tweaked the edges as needed
  • Drew a black outline around the fighter

I then continued to make tweaks as need when I looked at the sprite in game, such as darkening or lightening parts. Not too much, though. Another tip is to look at screenshots of arcade games from the 80s and 90s (and games on the SNES and Megadrive), and zoom in a lot to check out the shading and forms. Can seem daunting at first, but once you get the general principal, it's not too bad. Well, I say that, but I'm not making animated sprites, so that might be a whole other ballgame! Wink
22  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-02 06:16:48
Hmm, I don't have Windows, so I could only test on Linux.

According to the LWGJL, you need only use:

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System.setProperty("org.lwjgl.librarypath", new File("natives").getAbsolutePath());


to get the natives to work. Are you running the jar from the extract directory, as it looks like you're running it from elsewhere. Does it work if you cd into the actual extract dir..?
23  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Battle for the Solar System: Tactics on: 2014-01-01 07:56:26
Happy New Year, all!

Just joined so that I could share a game that I'm working on - a turn based strategy type game, set in space. It's only at v0.1 at the moment, but things have gone quite smoothly so far. At the moment, there aren't any real mission, just some training sections and randomly generated scenarios, which involve blasting down the enemy units.

I'v got a load of features to add to it in the coming months, including a campaign (the details of which I'm still trying to work out - the game's based on a novel trilogy I wrote, so have to fit things into that).

Screens:









You can get the game here:

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/games/

and the gameplay manual can be found here:

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/games/tacticsManual.html

It's only been tested on Linux so far, but the game uses LWJGL and OpenGL, so it should run on Windows and Mac OS, as well.

Will post updates as they come along!
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