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1  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships: Conquer the Skies on: 2014-07-31 12:57:47

So the game's on Steam Greenlight now, which is a "fun" experience of watching a number intently, willing it to go up. I would be extremely grateful for upvotes, as I still need several thousand to have a chance of being picked by the great steam bird when it next visits, plucking the ripest game-berries from the greenlight tree. Uh.
2  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-07-04 14:10:07
Reminds me of the land ships from the book Leviathan.

Oh cool - both of these look like a goldmine of inspiration, visual and otherwise. Thanks!
3  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-07-03 12:21:15
I've been sketching some concepts:



A turret with a > 180 degree field of fire. Flexible, but very big and expensive.



A landship, totally inspired by these from Girl Genius.



A wurm, a juvenile dragon...
4  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-04-30 09:54:06
There's a shiny new version out, mostly focusing on stability and UI things, but also adding some huge new modules like a targeting computer and a repair bay. The next version's going to focus on adding some new mechanics like boarding. Cheesy

5  Game Development / Performance Tuning / Re: Taming Java GC to prevent stutter, an in-depth post on memory management on: 2014-04-23 21:25:11
Yeah, I'm not using object pooling at all here, I just found three places where I was allocating objects for no good reason. And yeah, I measured before and after my modifications to make sure I was actually catching the right things. And yes, it did definitely remove noticeable spikes in frame times. Smiley

As lots of people say, the GC is very good these days, and you don't often have to worry about this kind of stuff outside of Android - but in this case, the game was allocating so many objects there were actually noticeable GC pauses messing up the feel of the game.
6  Game Development / Performance Tuning / Taming Java GC to prevent stutter, an in-depth post on memory management on: 2014-04-23 12:13:05
Spurred on by this post, here is an in-depth post on memory management in Airships.

Excerpt:

The game is written in Java, where unused data is automatically deleted in a process called garbage collection. This is nice, but comes with a big drawback: you can't control when garbage collection (GC) happens, and it can take too long.

The game runs at 60 frames per second, giving each frame a bit more than 16 milliseconds to advance the game state and redraw the screen. If GC kicks in during a frame and takes 30 milliseconds, the game stutters noticeably.

So this is something that needs fixing.

Read the rest
7  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-03-31 23:34:25
I'll look into that ASAP! Have you tried the newest version (v 2.1 from https://airships.zarkonnen.com/download )?

If yes, there should be a log in %APPDATA%\AirshipsGame.
8  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-03-31 17:46:34
Have you thought about checking the collision of the text boxes, so that they don't overlap?

Very good point, thanks.
9  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-03-31 15:06:24
Today marks the release of the second early access version of Airships. I've been working flat out to improve the game over the last week, and there's some cool new stuff:

Smaller modules

There are now small versions of various ship modules, opening up more ship design space. Previously, the smallest viable ship was about 300 gold. Now it's 90.



Internet multiplayer

There is now a game server where you can create multiplayer games and join others'. Come and measure yourself against other players!



Active enemies in strategic mode

The AI empires now go conquering, which means it's very important to keep your cities defended.



Shouty crew!



The next release is likely to take longer, as I plan to add major new features such as boarding. I also have about a zillion blog posts I want to write about the game, such as some lore things on suspendium and a ship design guide.

As before, the game's available on itch.io, and existing players can (of course) download this upgrade for free.
10  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-03-25 13:03:04
The early access release is up!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/3iki9rKIixE?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/3iki9rKIixE?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>

Some more details about the game:

At its core, the game is about designing airships and fighting with them. Ships are put together out of modules, and the layout of modules matters a great deal: everything on board is done by individual airsailors who need to run around, ferrying coal, ammunition, water and repair tools - and sometimes their fallen comrades.

You can command fleets of airships both against the computer and against other players across the Internet. (A match-making and ladder service is planned, but right now, you just enter your opponent's IP address.)

In addition, there is a single-player strategic mode, where you use your fleet to conquer city after city, unlocking new modules and bonuses with each of them.

The game has an authentic-ish system of heraldry where you can create your own coat of arms, and register it with the game forums as unique to you.

Interested? You can get it on itch.io for $5.

This is an "early access" release, which means the game is by no means done or perfectly polished. There's lots of features which I'm planning to add in the near future, such as boarding combat, more modules, varied terrain, etc...
11  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-03-18 21:15:53


I did a blog post on AI programming you might find interesting. Also, the early release version of the game will probably be out this week! (Details also in the post.)  Grin
12  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-03-10 10:11:44
So I was watching the video,  it seems like the thing is ai controlled maybe make it so that you have to control each ship so to keep it flying you need to get people to shovel fuel into he engine and that if you run out of fuel it splats to the floor(not sure if thats what brought the big one down) . That said there is huge potential in this and I would willingly play this and have a lot of fun. ps love the graphics Smiley

 Grin Pretty much, yeah. Everything on board of an airship is done by the little people, who are needed to do the following:

  • Operate engines
  • Move coal to the engines
  • Fire guns
  • Move ammo to the guns
  • Move water to fires and put them out
  • Move repair tools to damaged places and repair them
  • Heal injured people
  • Move badly injured people to the sickbay
  • etc.

Job allocation and movement is all done automatically, so you just give high-level commands to the ship as a whole.
13  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Procedural 2d Pixel Vessels / Space Ships on: 2014-03-10 10:05:19
OK, these look like my fever dreams. In a good way, I think.
14  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-03-08 11:43:17
If you've been following my Twitter, you may have seen a series of increasingly exasperated tweets about my computer. Basically, for work reasons, I had to upgrade my Mac to Mavericks, the newest OS X version. Unfortunately, Mavericks causes my machine to freeze irretrievably after a few days, and only a complete reinstall temporarily fixes the problem.

So now I'm, grumbling, back on Snow Leopard (IMHO the best version of Mac OS X), having lost a lot of time in the process. So yeah, that whole idea about releasing the early access version around now isn't happening, but I hope to get it out there before the end of the month.

I have not been entirely non-busy, though. A week ago, I was afforded the opportunity to do some playtesting. As I wrote before when I did this with Patent Blaster, there is just not substitute for putting down someone in front of your game and wordlessly watching them trying to figure it out.

The day after the playtesting I filed something like sixty new issues on Airships' tracker, ranging from trivial graphical adjustments to "feature X does not work". I selected the ones that I felt were important enough to get fixed before the first early access version, and have been plowing my way through them. (At least when I wasn't trying to fix my computer.)



One big change, visually, is that I adjusted the color of the sky to be less saturated, on the basis of this great article on game visuals and user feedback that the ships didn't visually "pop out" enough.



While doing graphical adjustments, I also took the opportunity to put in an early version of the main menu background, a digital painting of airships that I'm working on. It's by no means done, but I just, er, blurred it enough that you can't really tell. As time goes on, the picture will come into focus more.
15  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-02-28 15:06:37
No quarters?  Sad

So heraldic charges give you in-game bonuses, which means I'm restricted to relatively simple layouts. Still, more layouts is definitely something I want to add soon.
16  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-02-25 13:08:14
Looks interesting Grin I remember making such drawings in intricate detail during my childhood. This is like these drawings coming alive.

Goog luck with this, I'm curious it will turn out.

Yeah, that's pretty much it. I spent so much time laying out submarines and stuff. In fact, here is the original drawing I made for this:

17  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Airships, a ship design & fight game on: 2014-02-25 13:03:29
Nice i like these kind of games !

Just a suggestion can you make an open world for this game?

I am fundamentally very up for open-worldness. Can you describe a bit what you would like to see? No guarantees any of it will make it into the game of course, but so far the design is still pretty open.  Cheesy
18  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Airships: Conquer the Skies on: 2014-02-24 16:23:58

A real-time strategy game where you design airships and then fight with them. The aim is to have pretty chaotic explodey fights and interesting ship design choices. Ships are put together out of modules, and the layout of modules matters a great deal: everything on board is done by individual airsailors who need to run around, ferrying coal, ammunition, water and repair tools - and sometimes their fallen comrades.



Ship Editor



Combat (Singleplayer and Multiplayer)



Strategic Conquest



Heraldry Editor
19  Games Center / Archived Projects / House Update on: 2013-05-30 13:35:25
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFV_pQUt0t4

The House Update adds a whole bunch of dubious interior design to the previously rather barren environment of the game. Beyond that, I've also rewritten the physics to be more stable, re-balanced the power and difficulty levels, and added a bunch more powers and weapon types. Most importantly, with so many things around just waiting to spill or explode, you can really use the environment to your advantage. I've also included a simple editor to make your own levels with.

Please give the demo a try, and let me know what you think.

20  Java Game APIs & Engines / OpenGL Development / Re: Suggestions for a really nice sun effect in OpenGL/Slick2D? on: 2013-04-09 22:27:37
As your planet looks static, you should render it only one time (to an texture or something), and use an VBO.
3D noise is just slow, so you will not be able to render many planets at the same time this way.
Generating an texture will be much much faster in the long run.

Agreed. Unfortunately, I'm having horrible problems with shader texture binding interfering with Slick. As it stands, this shader can basically render 400x400 pixels of planet at 60 FPS, and it doesn't really matter if that's one big 400x400 planet or 100 40x40 planets.
21  Java Game APIs & Engines / OpenGL Development / Re: Suggestions for a really nice sun effect in OpenGL/Slick2D? on: 2013-04-09 12:25:22
Don't use ShaderToy, use https://www.shadertoy.com/

Oh, wow! It even has a pretty neat sun effect: https://www.shadertoy.com/view/4dXGR4

Here's my planet in action. Smiley https://www.shadertoy.com/view/MdX3RM
22  Java Game APIs & Engines / OpenGL Development / Re: Suggestions for a really nice sun effect in OpenGL/Slick2D? on: 2013-03-28 17:51:27
Yeah, perlin noise seems to be the way to go. I've been playing with ShaderToy and following the advice from the slick forum and managed to create a fairly nice shader for making planets. (Haven't actually looked into suns yet, but that should be easier!)

23  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2013 / Re: Annotated Code on: 2013-03-23 10:48:23
Well, I'll give it a try to gauge interest. Annotated code tomorrow or so. Smiley
24  Java Game APIs & Engines / OpenGL Development / Suggestions for a really nice sun effect in OpenGL/Slick2D? on: 2013-03-22 20:14:52
So I'm working on the star map for a space-based game, and I'd like really beautiful animated sun graphics. This is what I have so far, which makes heavy use of particles:



<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Y4RuyKPPaEg?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/Y4RuyKPPaEg?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>

This is pretty, but as people have remarked, not that much like an actual sun, which looks more like

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/jx0MivZge_s?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/jx0MivZge_s?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>

Can you think of some method of generating a similar visual effect? (I'm using Slick2D, but can happily drop down into the raw OpenGL if needed.)
25  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2013 / Annotated Code on: 2013-03-22 20:09:19
So now that the competition has all but concluded, I have a suggestion: given the nature of Java4k code, it's often not too easy to read, and given they're small single-person projects, they tend to be light on comments. But it would be great to be able to learn from each other.

Would people be interested in reading/writing thoroughly annotated versions of their game code? If there's some interest, I'll start out and post an annotated version of the Parasite Escape code.
26  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Patent Blaster on: 2013-03-14 07:22:44
Interesting source of assets.  You should patent the concept Wink


You are quite right, I really should. And include an illustration of a deformed-looking person playing the game on a blocky computer screen.  Cool
27  Games Center / Archived Projects / Patent Blaster on: 2013-03-13 19:04:27
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/0dizSEHow9Y?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/0dizSEHow9Y?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>

I've just released a small indie game called Patent Blaster that's based on Slick. It's a sidescrolling shooter inspired by the awfulness of patent illustrations, with weird creatures you can burn/freeze/dissolve or just shoot.

If you want to give it a try, download the demo: Win Mac Linux. Let me know what you think. Smiley

28  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2013 / Re: Parasite Escape on: 2012-12-31 08:55:18
Thanks for the feedback. Smiley The pictorial instructions were a bit of an experiment, so I'll definitely add some text to them to make things less incomprehensible.

Can you describe in what way you find the controls/movement difficult?
29  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2013 / Parasite Escape on: 2012-12-30 15:00:39
My entry this year has you play as a horrific brain parasite trying to escape from a space base. Leap from brain to brain and outwit the humans to reach the next sector. Try it out: http://zarkonnen.com/parasite_escape/

Solicitations for feedback:
  • Any crashes?
  • Are the instructions understandable?
  • Is it fun?

30  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Bridge Crossing Minigame - Looking for Feedback on: 2012-06-08 15:33:57
I too got  stuck on level 3. I think you need to introduce the weight shifting mechanic in a much simpler level where *only* weight shifting is needed (no jumping), then a couple of levels like that before you start to combine the two.

Yeah, I think the difficulty curve is kind of wall-like. I will rework that shortly, and also introduce the concepts one by one instead of just in a massive info screen.
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