Saturday, 29 June 2013

Website redesign and Management Game update

Happy Saturday everyone!

So as some people may have seen has been updated with a fancy new look. No more horrible framesets. I'm using div elements and all that good stuff. This means that my site looks and works fine on all* browsers (PC based). My site also works ok on mobile but can be improved on a little bit (only tested this on a few Android phones).

I use Ajax and JQuery, to load data onto pages and fade them in all nice like :)

Apart for the website update, I have continued design and prototyping on a management-based game. It is going well! I currently have a basic level generator which will generate a grid of rooms, based on parameters given. After these parameters are given, the grid will procedurally generate itself. I did this in Unity with C# script and I'm ok with the way it currently works. In the below example the top-left most room I use as a button to start the "level generation".

Right now I only have 3 types of rooms, they all look similair but they are going to be the "generic room" types in the game. I made these graphics myself :D (With some help from a texture). Not bad for somebody who can't art:

Room 1

Room 2

Room 3

I can generate a grid based on Y and X numbers. For example a grid of 3 by 4 will generate a grid of 12 rooms. 3 rooms down and 4 across. I'm happy with the ability to specify the size of the grid myself, as maybe I can add this to the UI for the player. They can pick how large they want their grid to be. Or perhaps they can pick from a bunch of preset sizes. Food for thought.

Still a few kinks to sort out. The major hold up at the moment is, as usual, content. I am spending a lot of my time making the graphics and UI elements for my game. It's taking a while but I'm going to keep on trucking. So far I have an awesome backdrop thanks to Spacescape made by Alex Peterson. A neat program I found while working on my DroneBoats project. It allows me to make graphics that look like this for example:

Example backdrop

Its actually made for skybox creation. You guys can check the program out at I found it real useful!

The next steps are to continue content creation and also figuring out how to connect my rooms together dynamically and randomly but not have any rooms be unlinked. That last part is going to be fun :)

I still need to continue my Android book and exercises which I hope to get back to soon. It's constantly at the back of my mind.

Anyhow, Please check out my new home site update :D I'm going to continue working now that I have some time to spend on this. I am having a lot of fun and I'm happy that I don't have to spend hours trying to model anything.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Finaly the week-end!

Cant let the whole week-end go by without making a post! :)

Things are going slow you guys, I think this may be because I'm trying to cover to much. Then again I'm not going to stop! I spent this week working on the following areas.

Converted my site to not use Frames, I am still reconstructing everything now. It's taking time, as usual. I am loading everything in from external files using Ajax then showing the content in Divs. I am planning on doing this with the mobile version on my site also.

I also found a neat plugin called google-code-prettify. Weird name I know but it allows me to make any code I post on my site go from this to this:

I tried combining the Ajax loading in functionality with the plugin but for some reason I lose all colouring data when it runs. Like I'd get the line numbers and background to load up fine but the text would be completely unformatted. I'm sure this is due to the fact that the plug-in only runs once the page is loaded and only runs once? I tried for a long time to get it to update and fix this but I couldn't figure it out. I'll have to be creative in my design to get around this problem I guess.

I have also continued design for a game I'm working on, thus far I'm writing out all my code on paper and trying to get this to make sense first. I'm going to be using Unity and GUITextures for most of this game. Using a 3D engine for a 2D game may be overkill but I can use C# which I love. Also using Unity means I don't have to spend time using a new IDE. Learning two is enough for now!

I realise that using Quads seems to be the way to go performance wise, but this is a PC game so I don't think performance will be a problem. Even with all the draw calls GUITexures supposedly make. (He says now watch down the line as I panic that my game is crippled).

The game I'm designing is a management game, dealing with the running of a space station. I am planning to have the levels prodecurally generated depending on 1 of three sizes. The level contents will consist of different elements and are picked at random.

So the player will always have a random level, and have to change his plans depending on the station he is presented with.

It sounds simple enough, but I want to get the code planned out properly before trying to implement anything. Below I pasted a screenshot of one of the station concepts I was tinkering with. I can get levels loading up in Unity quickly, but procedurally generating them - that's a bit more interesting.

This would be the main view panel in the overall GUI. I am planning to have lots of neat things shown in there. Once I get everything working.

I am still reading my Android Development book, but wanted to break the tedium of reading and actually make a game. Having a site with only one game on it is bumming me out.

I have been developing something small at work also, or shall I say amending something I developed as a prototype ages ago. Some training software, written in an overly basic language. I don't think it'll be used though. Not officially anyhow. But it's been draining me. It's approximately over 500 lines of code. I'm really proud of what I managed to get it to do; all things considered. It even prints to a printer now! And dynamically finds the assets it needs to run, regardless of where it's placed. It'll even run off a USB!

Nobody at work is a code monkey apart from me. So I waste my breath trying to explain just why that's so awesome.

Work in general has been draining me. I come home during the week and go straight to bed. There are reasons for this that I'd rather not get into. Not worth it since I ain't planning on sticking around.

Anyhow I spent this week end sleeping-in late and having some fun. I can't get anything done if I'm burnt out. Tomorrow it all starts up again :D

I have to get to doing:
  • Updating my web site - finishing off the mobile version and upload it (all HTML5 and sexy)
  • Continue making the graphics for my space game above
  • Keep reading my Android book so I can get my Dragon App goinggggg!

For now I'm going to have a beer and play The Last of Us.
Have a good Sunday guys!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Trucking on, slowly

Evening all,

I have been continuing as usual but I thought I’d take a break from the studying and example-code to post an update before bed!

I’m going to be honest when I say that I am hitting a little bit of a low point what with all the reading and continuous examples. I am extremely anxious to start making something cool to add to my portfolio! I have too many ideas and I am tired of mapping them out on paper. I want to code!

I am now approximately halfway through my book on Android development. I have covered many different areas and I am finding the book very well written and the content interesting! I have been working my way through all the examples, written in Java and been coding along in Eclipse using the SDK. Thus far I have covered touch, multitouch (Android does this in a “fun” way haha), dragging, basic graphics rendering, threads, audio playback, key presses and storage (external and internal). I have all the basics to develop a game!

I am now working my way through the game example and hope to make good progress. After that I will finally be able to start making my own games I have been designing. I cannot wait! :D

In other news I have been tinkering with my website. I have pretty much made a version that got rid of framesets. I instead use only Divs to make things more HTML5 compatible. I am hoping to modify it for mobile phone viewing. Unfortunately once I finished the layout of the mobile site, I found the wonders of JQuery and Ajax. I have been looking into loading pages via XML since that would be an easier/more efficient way than using Divs with Javascript. 

I have also moseyed away from using Notepad and am currently using UltraEdit for my web development. I am really happy with this editor! I am going to show off some screenshots below. It has this awesome built in web browser demo panel so you can quickly see the results of your changes and edits. It gets a bit wonky when using scripts in the HTML but to combat this you can load the page into your default browser with the click of a button and this fixes it. I am really loving UltraEdit so shout out to them :D And it sure beats Notepad!

The code/html layout in UltraEdit

Check the changes with a click of the button! (draft site I know it looks bad)
I also started rereading my HTML5 games development book and I was surprised that I now understood a lot more than before. I set it aside as I got a bit overwhelmed with the HTML terminology used in the book. Making my own site and getting it hosted however really does seem to be paying off. Very slowly things are starting to come together. I now love JQuery and I understand what a DOM is. Before these things may as well have been Latin to me! I am hoping to work through that book once I finish my Android book. I think making a facebook game would be really cool!

Lastly I am toying with the idea of showing off a few older Unity projects I put on hiatus. Just to show something interesting. Even though I have been spending 3-4 hours a day on this after work my portfolio is lacking in examples. This is not a good thing I’m afraid. I might make a little prototype area on my site or a demo bits area. We’ll see how it goes. 

For the next few weeks my Android development takes priority though. After that I’ll fix up my site and maybe get the mobile version up and running. I also miss using Unity– if I have time after all the above things I’d like to mess around with it some more!  But right now I need sleep.

As always thank you for reading,

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Designing ALL of the things!

Hey all :D

Just got home from work so I thought I’d do a quick update to talk about what I'm currently in the process of working on.

I'm currently working on the designs for two games. I may have mentioned some of these in previous posts.

The first project is in a very early stage. I want this game to be really good. Like super good. So I am spending time getting the design properly thought out. I'm also thinking about the art style and once I decided that I can decide what I want to develop it in and which engine I want to use with it. More on this later though :D

The other project is a small android app game. I thought it was time I added to the extremely sparse android marketplace :P The game will be free to play - mostly because I am developing it to teach myself android development. I am currently designing it while I clue myself up on all the android stuffs.

I read through most of the SDK stuff, did the “hello world” button tutorial and I'm currently reading through "Beginning Android 4 Games Development". I was a little bit overwhelmed by all the API information. So when in doubt, get a book!

Originally I was planning on using the Unity engine but I thought I'd learn more if I didn't abstract myself from a lot of the grunt work. So instead I'm going to try and develop my project in Java. Seeing as how it's going to be a pretty basic game I don't think this is unreaslistic.

I love the way android development looks thus far. Using bundles to save data making it easy to resume from where the user left off is awesome. Localisation made easy, use of XML and making it easy to support multiple devices (well in theory anyhow) is awesome! :D

Anyhow I'm trying to quickly work my way through this book while at the same time working on my game designs. Hopefully once the book is done I can hit the ground running on my very own android project! I really can't wait!

By the way, I thought I'd try out a "mind mapping" method of doing early designs. I do this so that I have a whole project planned out properly this time. My plan is to iterate on the mind map design rather than use prototyping as with my Runes game. Since this lead to really messy code and a silly amount of bugs. It's just to damn tempting to use prototypes as the real deal.

I've been using Freemind ( to do the mind mapping and I really like it. It's nice and basic and allows me to get my ideas organised in a quick and easy way! Just thought I'd give a small shout out, since it’s been helping me lots :)

Well time to get back to it. (*Peon voice* Work-work!)

Thanks for reading!