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1  Game Development / Game Play & Game Design / Re: Looking for tips on interactive dialogue on: 2009-01-04 14:11:59
Thanks. yED looks promising. I just downloaded it and think it will help me keep track of the dialogues, I had been maintianing them in text files and it was hard keep all the connections straight.
2  Game Development / Game Play & Game Design / Looking for tips on interactive dialogue on: 2009-01-04 04:53:00
I am in the process of converting my game to Slick and taking the opportunity to improve some of the more painful parts.

One thing that was really tough was interactive dialogue. Basically where an NPC says something and the player has 3 phrases to choose from and then the NPC will reply based on which phrase the player chose.

How I do it currently is basically a List of HashMaps of HashMaps. In other words there is a list of all possible conversations:

Player and Bob
Player and Joe,
Player and Sally
... and so on.

The conversations are HashMaps where the player's phrase is a key to pull out the response from the npc. And then the npc's phrase is the key to pull out the possible phrases for the player to choose from and so on and so on.

I was able to build several interactions but it is really tough adding new conversations and keeping track of which response is the key for which options and such.

Does anyone have suggestions on improving this?

3  Games Center / Showcase / Re: Dyspraxia. A cyberplatformer. (added webstart link) on: 2008-12-28 03:47:29

This is neat! Very unorthodox Wink However I have found a few things that bother me a little:

1. The music loop is a little too short. It is nice, but too short and after a while it starts to be annoying.
2. The description of "products", that I can buy is too dark (at least for me). It is barely visible.
3. When I approach those machines that sell things, I have to hit them a couple of times before the dialogue window appears. Sometimes it appears just for a fraction of a second and then I have to move back and approach the NPC again.
4. This is just my personal preference, but I prefer a windowed application to have a frame, so that I can move it around.

I've run the game on Fedora 9.0 (32bit) running on AMD AthlonX2 2100MHz. The FPS was at around 30.

Version 0.2.9 is available from the webstart link.

1. I turned music off by default. It was just something i made in GarageBand and threw in. I also added a toggle "m" to turn it off/on.
2. I adjusted the contrast. It's easier to read now.
3. Yeah, more collision detection weirdness I have to look in to.
4. I'd like to make a windowed version too, mostly to help debugging, but right now the code is prety tightly coupled to full screen. Not sure when I might get around to it though.

Thanks for the feedback.
4  Games Center / Showcase / Re: Dyspraxia. A cyberplatformer. (added webstart link) on: 2008-12-22 13:58:33
I fixed the webstart link. Apparently this attribute in the j2se tag was causing the problem "initial-heap-size="32m". That was incorrect. The server is stamping files six hours in the future. So webstart thinks there are newer versions of the files.

I fixed the crash when typing a or b keys and when selecting an empty dialogue response.
5  Games Center / Showcase / Re: Dyspraxia. A cyberplatformer. (added webstart link) on: 2008-12-22 05:12:31
Hm it was sort of difficult to test out because I couldn't successfully play for longer than 1 minute at a time before a bug made me quit. Also the controls (in terms of talking and whatnot) are sort of unintuitive.

A couple bugs:
1) I managed to walk through a wall somehow and after I did so I began moving in reverse direction at double speed, until I moved off the screen and couldn't get back.
2) I pressed I believe the A key and some exception came up, but before I could see what it was the JNLP window closed.
3) The JNLP downloads the resources every single time I open it. Are you disabling caching?

Re: dialogue interaction, the top box is what the npc said and the lower box contains up to three responses for you to choose from. Left click a selection to respond. Pretty much all interactions are single left-clicks.

1) yep collision detection bug.
2) congratulations, you found a bug I didn't know about. It was from an incomplete combat system that I had not cleaned up. A and B were going to be different kinds of attacks. I'll disable the input check for those.
3) yeah, i noticed that too. I don't think it used to do that but my jnlp file is based on an old file. I'll have to look at the spec and see if I can figure out what's going on. I have offline-allowed so I'm not sure what's causing that.

Sorry you haven't had much luck but I do appreciate what feedback you've been able to give me. It's been helpful.

6  Games Center / Showcase / Re: Dyspraxia. A cyberplatformer. on: 2008-12-21 22:58:47
...Could you call the method requestFocus() or requestFocusInWindow please? ...

I added requestFocusInWindow to the latest Webstart version. Let me know if that fixes the focus issue on Linux.

7  Games Center / Showcase / Re: Dyspraxia. A cyberplatformer. on: 2008-12-21 15:49:39
Perhaps some bigger screenshots so I can see detail?

There are larger screenshots at the link above but here's a cropped closeup of the vendor interaction.
Click to Play

The list on the left is what the vendor has to sell, the list on the right is the player inventory window. The player is the eye in the gear graphic under the first Dr X lab key. There should only be one but there's a bug where the npc gives you two of them.


It works fine under Linux but I need to click once on the screen to allow the game to listen to the whole keys. Could you call the method requestFocus() or requestFocusInWindow please? I can go through a few walls sometimes and it is impossible to come back. The frame rate is between 20 and 31 FPS. Good luck and keep it up. Using Java Webstart is an excellent idea Cheesy

I'll try to get the focus call in 0.2.7.

Yeah, the collision detection bugs out occasionally and pops you through a wall. It's on my list but may be awhile before I get around to it.

20-31 fps is what I get on my G4 powerbook and it seems to play well. My iMac varies a lot more: 26-51.

8  Games Center / Showcase / Dyspraxia. A cyberplatformer. (added webstart link) on: 2008-12-20 17:36:54
I've been working on this game off and on since I first got Brackeen's book Developing Games in Java. I built a couple simpler platformers but this one has a lot more features. It's an overhead game where you are an AI entity living inside the giant network of world wide computer systems. The actual content is very sparse but there is a simple plot and objective. You can talk to NPC, pick up items, buy/sell and interact with objects.

Basically, you have to rescue someone.

There are definitely bugs that I need to fix (and lots and lots of fleshing out) but let me know how it works on various systems. I've tested on an Intel iMac and G4 Powerbook. Seems to run well. It's built on Java 1.4.

It's been a lot of fun and yes, I'll be happy to share the source code. Although, it is a serious mess because I would work on it for a few weeks and then stop for a couple months.

I'll give more tips later if people want but my first suggestions are to read the help screen (h) and interact with any inventory items you pick up.

You can find a single jar download along with larger versions of the screenshots  at

or webstart from

Warning. The only bug I am aware of that can crash it is clicking on an empty dialogue selection. (fixed in 0.2.8.)

Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Here are some screenshots.

Chatting with an NPC.
Click to Play

Interacting with a vendor.
Click to Play

I also built an editor.
Click to Play
9  Games Center / Showcase / Re: Misadventures of MADS Somewhere in Time - platform game on: 2006-04-30 14:57:08
I cleaned up some things that I think helped but I notice the biggest slow down occurs when there are lots of coins on the screen. I added an FPS counter and it drops to about 15 with a lot of coins but goes up to around 30 at other times. At least on my g4 Mac. I won't spend much more time trying to optimize this because I'm going to be concentrating on Live from Atlantis. I should have an alpha posted in a couple weeks.

Toggle fps display with the f key. You can also pause now with the p key.
10  Games Center / Showcase / Re: Misadventures of MADS Somewhere in Time - platform game on: 2006-04-30 12:48:58
Adding in the animations definitely brought the performance down. I'm seeing the slow down on my system as well. I just didnt test into the level far enough to see it. I'll work on things a bit. Thanks.
11  Games Center / Showcase / Re: Misadventures of MADS Somewhere in Time - platform game on: 2006-04-30 12:27:32
Wow. Hmm. Maybe I introduced something with the new animations. I'll have to check on my PC at work which is half your specs. It used to fly on my 1/2 gig Thinkpad. Thanks for the feedback.
12  Games Center / Showcase / Re: Misadventures of MADS Somewhere in Time - platform game on: 2006-04-30 02:41:22
Just added a small update. I replaced the lame dinosaur graphics with actual animations. Also finally got around to gettting it to work on
13  Games Center / Showcase / Misadventures of MADS Somewhere in Time - platform game on: 2006-04-27 03:00:19
I posted an early version of this game about a year ago. It only had a couple levels back then and the graphics were pretty simple. My brother re-released his book that the game is (very) loosely based on so we decided to re-release the game. We updated the graphics and brought it up to 5 levels. Other than that it's really a pretty simple game. You guide the Professors time machine back in time and bonk dinosaurs while picking up coins. It's goofy, simple fun. There's a time bonus and bonuses for picking up all the coins and whacking all the dinosaurs.

It's about 70% Brackeen's code from his book Developing Games in Java. I added some for extra lives, scoring and a few other simple bits. We probably won't do much more with this game because we've already started work on the next game based on the second MADS book - Live from Atlantis. That game is much more customized. We shrunk the tile size down to 32x32 pixel (from 64x64) and may even go further. We are replacing the midi music with wav, aiff and it will not be as linear. You can have multiple doors going to multiple levels and even come back to a level. I hope to have a preview posted in about a month.

But back to the game at hand. There is a webstart version and a single, downloadable jar version. I haven't tested much on Windows and Linux so will be happy to hear feedback regarding those platforms.

The url is

There's a feedback email link on the page.

Here's a screen shot
14  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Santa brought me a mac iBook - how do I use it on: 2005-01-05 10:44:33
I added 256 to my iBook to bring it up to 512. Works great although I kind of wish I had sprung for a 512 chip.

I can run eclipse, tomcat, mysql, itunes, firefox, mail, ichat, dreamweaver (several which are memory hogs) concurrently without much problem. but i think that's about pushing it.

Eclipse 3.0 runs well. i'm very happy with it's performance. Even though it runs faster on my 1.8 ghz p4 I choose to work on my iBook every time. I'll have to try smartcvs. I just use eclipse built in cvs right now.

I've installed subversion server on my mac server but have been having trouble getting the subclipse plugin to work in eclipse.

So my basic suggestion is get as much memory as you can comfortably afford. But dont break your bank to max out. I saw great gains with just a 256 chip.
15  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: GNU takes position on LGPL and java on: 2004-12-23 15:07:49

If you compile a Java application that uses the library you have included part of the library in you application (the class and method signatures) and thus you have created a derivative work.

In other words there is no way to create a non-derivative work using LGPL (Java) code? Is that what you mean?
16  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Best Java Book on: 2004-12-09 19:21:22
"hawkeye grid"? I'm not familiar with the term. What is it?
17  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Best Java Book on: 2004-12-06 16:50:15
I loved David Brackeen's book Developing Games in Java.

You can check out the preview of my game based on his code under the Your Games Here section. Go to the thread Misadventures of mads.

I picked up the book before Shawnkendall's came out (or at least before I had seen it). I have been looking through his book though and like it. I'll probably pick it up soon.  I like his examples of using interfaces and plan to rewrite my brackeen based code to use more interfaces in places where Brackeen used inheritance.
18  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-12-02 20:19:11
We're going to try and do a game for each book.  For the first book we're sticking with what we have.

For book two (which should be out next year) I plan to seriously look at LWJGL now that it is coming to OS X.

19  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-12-02 15:02:04
Thanks. I loved brackeen's book.  

Now that I'm pretty happy with the preview I'm working on the real game with more mods and more gadgets from the book. We're hoping to have a demo in a couple months.
20  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: SUPER ELVIS beta testers required on: 2004-11-24 01:38:50
Worked great on Mac OS X 10.3 for me.

512 ram
1.0 Ghz G4 iBook

Although I don't think a trackpad is the best thing to use. It was kind of tough but I got past the first level and tried the next 4.

Looked great and sounded great.
21  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-11-14 01:42:38
OK. I fixed a bug that wouldn't let the game exit properly using the escape key on Windows.

Also fixed a bug where the coin/creature totals weren't getting reset.

Still getting a weird flash on start up though. trying to sort that out now. Other than that seems fine on Win2K and OS X.
22  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-11-13 11:43:19
Lots of updates so I'd love to hear some more feedback.

-High Scores saved and displayed
-Bonus for fast time
-Bonus for getting all creatures, coins
-Better Main Menu
-Another Level (for three total)
-New Music
-Display of running creature, coin total (toggled on and off with 'c' key)
-A couple small map changes

23  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: JGF v3 - status on: 2004-11-06 10:47:39

Let us know if this sounds interesting.

/Khashayar Farmanbar
CEO Agency9

It sounds very interesting. I'm glad they're going to give it a try.
24  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-11-04 20:55:51

- The flickering appears to be from redrawing the beginning of the level and the screen area you died in back to back.  I fell in the water on the 1st level and when it showed the game over icon, I could see the start of the level and the area where the water was.

Ok I think I fixed this. I also slowed down the flashing on the coins.

Looks like high score display is coming next.Shocked

25  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: JGF v3 - status on: 2004-11-03 15:18:43

Still need $200, although...I have a tentative promise from someone for that much money. Waiting to see if it happens or not.

Well I just tossed a few more quid your way. (I think I do it just to say quid)  Wink

And keep us updated. I can probably scrounge up a few more pence or bob as the goal gets in sight.
26  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-11-03 14:53:11
I played this on my home laptop and discovered a few more things.  Smiley

WinXP, Java 1.4.2, 1.xGhz, ATI Mobility

- The flickering appears to be from redrawing the beginning of the level and the screen area you died in back to back.  I fell in the water on the 1st level and when it showed the game over icon, I could see the start of the level and the area where the water was.

Ah I see that now on my w2k laptop. Should be able to fix that.

Thanks and we're definitely working on stuff along all the lines of your excellent comments.

darkgem: glad you're enjoying it. I should throw in a couple more maps just for kicks since they're easy to do. Or maybe make an override folder so people could drop in their own maps.
27  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-11-02 18:41:46

- I was able to hover when I got a coin for some reason.  The car just floated after getting it.

- The music is the same from Brackeen's book.  Might want to change that.

- My game flashed like crazy when I died as well.

- WinXP, java1.5.0-rc, 2.3Ghz, GeForce4MX

Dr. A>

Yes it helps greatly, thanks.

The coin is actually a "hoverdisc". It's one of the professor's gadgets. Originally instead of the vehicle you moved the professor around and he would grab the hoverdisc so he could hover. It lasts for 5 seconds which i count down in the upper left. we'll probably go back to using the professor instead of the vehicle on this level. and use the vehicle (it's called the Scorpium from scorpion-titanium) on another level.

Although we are coming up with our own music that was one of the problems I had. Whenever I dropped in new music it worked the first time and then knocked out my sound. So I'm still working on that. The sounds are also Brackeen's but I believe he offers them up royalty/license free. But we do plan to provide our own.

Better animations are also coming and a lot more different graphics.

The flickering seems to be a 1.5 thing since the two people that mentioned it were both on 1.5 and XP. My tests on XP and W2k were both with 1.4 and I didn't see flickering. Guess I'll need to load up 1.5 on my w2k test box.

28  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-11-01 15:24:44
Nice smooth animation!
The only thing I noticed was it seemed after a while of playing, the jump button was a bit laggy (had to hold it down for a second for the game to respond).

Interesting. I hadn't seen that before.

What OS, JRE and how much ram?

29  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-11-01 10:08:48
It ran totally smooth on Win XP!  When I died, the whole screen flickered like mad.  I hit Q to quit, and it didn't disappear until I clicked the mouse.


The screen flickering is interesting though. I'll have to look into that. What JRE are you using?


30  Games Center / Archived Projects / Re: Misadventures of MADS sample game on: 2004-11-01 02:13:23
Re: Mac

Oh yeah. I need to fix the instructions to say use command/apple-q to quit on Mac. Which is very sloppy seeing as I developed it on Mac.

All credit about how smooth it runs goes to Brackeen. It's his rendering/game play engine. We supplied the graphics and level layouts. The only programming I did in this version was adding finite number of lives, scoring, time display, play again screen and option and the specialty gadget hoverdisc. Oh yeah and the sinking in water kills you effect.

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