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1  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Markus bought a new house on: 2014-12-20 02:35:38
So this is success? It makes me feel a little sad...
$70m means clean, safe drinking water for 700,000 people. One fifth of the 3.5 million who don't have even that.
I couldn't live happily in a house like that - too much excess!
I believe Markus is a good man - what is it about lots of money that makes people go blind?

EDIT: Soz, just checked - 3.5m die each year for want for clean water or sanitation, out of 2.5bn who don't have any.
2  Games Center / Contests / Re: Java4K Competition 2015 on: 2014-12-08 14:17:31
Oops! I should have said .jar file rather than .class file!
What I meant was no proguard, pack, gz compression etc, so the entire build chain would be;
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javac game.java
jar cfM game.jar game.class

That way anyone with vanilla java and the source code could play the game.
3  Games Center / Contests / Re: Java4K Competition 2015 on: 2014-12-07 01:29:58
I don't like limiting the source size for 2 reasons;
1. The compression-chain problem simply moves from the .class file to the .java file.
2. The source code becomes unreadable to newcomers.

I've learned through long experience: give variables meaningful names and comment a lot. I would like to encourage that practice - source size limitations prevent that.
The whole reason that compression became an issue was because a 4K game file contained a lot of 'stuff' eg a compressed 'empty' applet was over 1K. I say we should allow large sized source but the compiled .class file should be <8K without any compression.

Java8K anyone?
New rules;
1. Source code is the submission. Less than 64K and must compile on vanilla java 7. Points awarded for legibility!
2. Class file must be <8K and run in an applet tag/appletViewer/java8KLauncher whatever.

I still weep bitter tears when I think of how the potential of applets was destroyed!

*thinks* wasn't there a library called XVLM or something that converted java source to HTML5?

4  Games Center / Contests / Re: End of 4K. Thanks all! on: 2014-11-30 02:21:06
 Cry So sad, but - c'est la vie!

Many, many thanks Appel, and everyone who participated over the years for all the wonderful times we had.
I think in some ways the 4K contest changed the world a little bit for the better. Not only did we make some amazing games but we showed how friendly help and support could lead to great things.

Would it be heresy to suggest an HTML5 contest instead? I love java dearly but we have to be pragmatic. A shame to not have an outlet for all that ingenuity and creativity!
5  Game Development / Game Mechanics / Re: How to simulate Electricity in Tile-based game on: 2014-10-30 02:42:14
OK, assuming a not too extensive power system, here's how I'd do it;

A hashmap is like a huge array for sparse data and is nearly as fast.
I'd make three hashmaps: 'generators', 'receivers' and 'wires' where the key is the map index (x+y*mapwidth). This gives fast access for any given tile.
These tables will all contain the class;
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class PowerNode
{
    float availablePower;
    int mapIndexNorth;
    int mapIndexEast;
    int mapIndexSouth;
    int mapIndexWest;
}

When the player places a power-related item on a tile I add it to the appropriate table (key=x+y*width) and link it into the power system by checking neighbouring tiles (key=(x-1)+y*width &c) for entries in the power lists, and setting the appropriate connections fields. Same for removal of items.

In the game loop to update the power system I'd loop over the 'generators' hashmap, get all connected keys and store them in an 'open' list, updating their node's availablePower as I did so.
Next I'd loop over the open list. If it's a receiver it will reduce the power available. If it's a wire it just transmits. I add this node to a 'closed' list and add any connections not in the 'closed' list to the 'open' list, updating their power also.
Loop over the open list as above until done.

This would spread the power out from the generators to the receivers pretty efficiently, allow power to be 'drained' by the receivers and for receivers to also act as transmitters.
Handy for rendering too as you can find if a tile has power-related graphics pretty quickly, and how much power is there.

Maybe not the most efficient way, but better than scanning a huge array.
PS Not quite sure how this would work if there were closed loops in the wiring!

6  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Teaching Java Game Programming to Children on: 2014-06-17 23:58:14
I have to figure out how to get the less motivated students to get into programming.
How about Logo? Online here.
It was specifically designed to get less involved students doing some programming without realising it.
They immediately get something to show for their work. Even if it is just a square, they did it!
7  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Is our Universe Simulatable? on: 2014-04-20 23:30:57
Thinking about it some more...
Some of the most powerful computer systems are simulating the weather on earth with a pretty good degree of (short-term) accuracy. As CPUs get ever more powerful, it's reasonable to assume that models (rather than a simulations) will be made of the universe. That could get interesting! In the same way that our weather models showed the el nino current to be highly significant to our climate, maybe universe models will show us things we never guessed at? Wormholes maybe?
8  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Is our Universe Simulatable? on: 2014-04-20 23:10:49
Logically, you can't simulate the universe.
If you managed to make a simulator, then the universe would be different - it'd have the simulator in it. You'd have to simulate the universe with the simulator in it simulating the universe which had in it the simulator simulating the simulator simulating the universe... and so on ad infinitum...
9  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Rendering a 2.5D game on: 2014-04-18 23:56:40
You can do this in 2D, but it's very tricky if you also want perspective. You have to calculate the corners of each tile in 3D space then distort the tile images to fit their polygons. I have done this, but it's not at all easy! You'll get artifacts and all sorts of problems with matching up tile edges.
Practically, it's simpler to use a 3D engine with a fixed y-angle and render the characters as billboards than it is to try and emulate this in 2D.
10  Game Development / Artificial Intelligence / Re: Can anyone give me an easy ANN exercise? on: 2014-03-05 00:58:34
A classic ANN exercise is an XOR logic gate (that's what I had to do in college anyway). Build an 8 input XOR gate. If you can get a 100% accurate result then you've cracked it.
So, you have 8 inputs and one output. If one and only one of the inputs is 1 then the output is 1, otherwise the output is 0. Good luck!
11  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: JGO coinage tally on: 2014-01-30 01:02:16
Yah, Adwords is evil. They stole £60 off me with 'no appeal'. I still don't know why...
I think a 'Donate' option would be a good idea. Nothing fancy, just an extra tab, but those of us who benefit from the wisdom herein and are doing well might think: 'Cool! Thanks, problem solved! Here's a little token of my appreciation.' and drop a fiver on the site. Why not? No-one gets hurt. Do they?  persecutioncomplex
12  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2014 / Re: In The Dark 4K on: 2014-01-06 01:35:44
The voxel/lighting effects are beautiful. Quite something for 4K!
My only grumble is the direction of fire, sometimes I really have to work hard to be firing in the right direction (especially when enemies appear beside or behind me) - couldn't I just fire the way I'm movng? I guess you've done it this way it is for a reason?

Very impressive though! How many voxels are you juggling?
13  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2014 / Re: Treasure Hunt 4k on: 2014-01-06 01:16:23
I really like the concept but I've never actually managed to find any treasure!
There's a few low-cost tweaks that I think would help a lot;
Reset - essential!
Map - make the game freeze while you check the map. I found myself keeping the map open as I sailed to look for pattern matches and hitting sea monsters before I knew it Undecided
Dots - are they sandbars? rocks? Anyway, fewer, larger obstacles in those zones would be better.

On a cosmetic note, could you increase the resolution of the land? Smoother edges would really help the immersion value (maybe double the screen buffer size and interpolate?). Maybe some green dots on land for trees?

Nice game!
14  Game Development / Game Mechanics / Re: Generating "True" 2D Perlin Noise on: 2013-12-31 01:18:01
It's really good fun isn't it!

I always call value or simplex noise 'Perlin noise'. I know it's not strictly accurate but I love Ken Perlin's attitude and sheer class. I reckon calling all PRNG noise techniques after him will add to his fame. A great man - cheers Ken!
15  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2014 / Re: BUG4BOO on: 2013-12-13 15:55:39
It isn't easy to jump excatly (for me) but I had a nice time with the game!
The jumping does take a little getting used to but it is quite accurate! Click and hold to charge the jump bar then release the mouse to jump to the pointer. Click again to grab hold of plants.
A fully charged bar will let you jump the whole width of the map!  Grin
16  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2014 / BUG4BOO on: 2013-12-12 16:25:01
A new twist on an old favorite;

Hope you enjoy playing it as much as I did making it!
17  Games Center / Contests / Re: Discuss the future of 4k contest on: 2013-12-03 00:27:58
OK, sorry I've been a bit stressy about this launcher business but I'm pretty much1 won round now.

Perhaps special recognition award for the best "new comer" entry would help include those who are not considering entering being intimidated by the fantastic entries of the old hands?
Superb2 idea! A 'Best Newcomer' category would be an excellent addition to the contest.

1Nothing to do with one of my games being used for the demo - honest!
2On the J4K website news the word 'superb' has been typoed to 'supberb' - just saying...

18  Games Center / Contests / Re: Discuss the future of 4k contest on: 2013-11-24 02:14:05
I so want this compo to carry on, but I can't see how a launcher do that... asking people to sacrifice personal security for all 4K games seems worse to me than asking them to do so for just one of them.
I spend a lot of time telling people to be careful when they click 'OK', and here's this thread trying to get people to open up their machines to potentially malicious content. Why should they trust us? It's no go for me.
I'm working on a game ATM where all the whole toolchain is pure java but the delivery is javascript/HTML5. It makes sense to me.
Maybe we should split it up - 4K source JS for safeys and 4K applet for dare-devils.
It is JAVAscript after all!
19  Games Center / Contests / Re: Discuss the future of 4k contest on: 2013-11-19 03:14:24
Poor old applets! Cry
How about something like XMLVM where the the compiled java code had to be under 4K (ulp!) but the game would also be available as HTML5, android or iphone? Just a thought...
20  Games Center / Contests / Re: Discuss the future of 4k contest on: 2013-11-15 20:41:25
Is there a way to turn this into an android game contest?
I don't have an android!  Undecided
I still favour Javascript. It runs on android, windows and osx, has no scary security issues and there's plenty of tools & libraries out there.
What's not to like?
21  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Re: Re-sizable Target Java Paint on: 2013-10-28 20:14:50
If you wanted 5 rings, how about;
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g.setColor(Color.cyan);
g.fillOval(x-radius, y-radius, 2*radius, 2*radius);

int nextRadius=(int)(radius-(radius/5)); // reduce radius by 1/5
g.setColor(Color.red);
g.fillOval(x-nextRadius, y-nextRadius, 2*nextRadius, 2*nextRadius);

nextRadius=(int)(radius-(radius/5)*2); // reduce radius by 2/5
g.setColor(Color.yellow);
g.fillOval(x-nextRadius, y-nextRadius, 2*nextRadius, 2*nextRadius);
and so on...
22  Java Game APIs & Engines / Engines, Libraries and Tools / Re: Looking for 3D engine on: 2013-10-23 20:17:24
I'd recommend jPCT. Very easy to use and not too hard to integrate with JBullet for the physics (if you need them).
23  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2013 / Re: random seed sequences as a form of data compression on: 2013-10-19 02:08:02
I had a lovely dream where you gave a seed to a PRNG and that generated the next 2 seeds which made the next 4 seeds... and so on... until it made an image...
As Riven says, the tough bit is finding the first seed!
I bet a really good mathematician could devise a convergence system where you worked both ways, finding seeds for pixels and pixels for seeds, improving the approximation every time. Maybe.

Can anyone recall a (possibly fictional) Russian algorithm based on prime numbers where you could get perfect data recovery from something like 23442791-1?
24  Games Center / Contests / Re: Discuss the future of 4k contest on: 2013-09-17 19:58:56
Why not simply have a javascript4K compo? Plenty of compression tools about, instant gratification, runs everywhere... I'd be up for that!
I think depending on libs or a custom JVM might be asking too much of casual players.
25  Games Center / Contests / Re: Discuss the future of 4k contest on: 2013-09-10 00:18:46
If normal users can't use applets, there's no point with the "applets only" rule. We can go back to webstart and see how that shakes things up in terms of window sizes (fullscreen) and such. (I'm inclined to do a "webstart only" contest next just to make it a bit different).
Please, no! Webstart is an even more evil experience than applets, you still get scary pop-ups and then you have to 'uninstall' every single game you play through the control panel? WTF?!
One thing we all agree on: immediate gameplay gratification through java is no-go. To my mind, either we play it as a by-devs-for-devs thing or do something completely different.
Anyway, with the Minecraft and Runescape (is that still going?) phenomena, maybe applets aren't quite the total turn-off we think they are.
Can anyone name a successful game that used webstart?
26  Games Center / Contests / Re: Discuss the future of 4k contest on: 2013-09-09 13:57:05
IMHO the end result has usually been a lot of, well, very crap games.
I disagree! There have been some abysmal entries it's true, but overall I'd say the quality was remarkably high, especially given the constraints.
I was watching a vlogger who set out to find the 10 best LD entries (out of 2700!) and he had trouble actually finding 10 which (in his opinion) had any playability value at all. That's 0.3% 'good' games. I'd give 4K a figure of 10-20% 'good' games, and rarely a contest goes by without at least 1 really top quality game being produced.

I was wondering if it would be possible to make/use a tool which would 'html5-ise' the games...?
27  Games Center / Contests / Re: Discuss the future of 4k contest on: 2013-08-31 00:25:33
I can't think of anything better - Unity 64K? It wouldn't be the same...
I see 4K as a great way to play around with ideas within bounds. I also got a big kick out of trying to do AC, GTA, Far Cry & Skyrim in 4K.
Sure online java's shot itself in the foot then looked down the barrel to see where the bullet came from and shot itself in the face, but it's still a beautiful language to use.
Sod popularity, if we wanted full coverage we'd have to use JS or libGDX or something and the 4K constraint would be null and void.
I say stick with applets for this year. Nothing lasts for ever, so let's make the last days the best!
28  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: JGO mission on: 2013-05-21 23:07:39
JGO needs a mission like a fish needs a bicycle.
Hang on, I thought our mission was: "To explore strange new libraries, to seek out new algorithms and new methodologies, to boldly go where no coder has gone before". Don't tell me I've been wasting my time - splitting the infinitive isn't easy!
29  Discussions / Business and Project Management Discussions / Re: The nightmare of taxes, and what can I do about it on: 2013-05-10 15:58:16
And this 60% of tax comes from:
27% general tax on everything you sell for a person
16% personal income tax
2% industry tax
12% if you want to take your money out of the company.
Ok, so you make a game and in 1 year you sell 1000 copies at €20 each and make €20,000.
Take off 27% sales tax leaves €16,300.
Take off 2% industry tax leaves €15,974.
What's left is your personal income and you pay 16% tax leaving you €13,418.

That's 33% tax, not 60%!

It's also unlikely that you'll have to pay sales tax unless you make more than a certain amount (around €170,000 in the UK) in which case you'd only be paying around 17% tax.
30  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: [SOLVED] strange if statement problem on: 2013-05-07 00:47:12
I knew that! It's still confusing for a beginner though... Maybe there ought to be a compiler warning or something?
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