8bitrocket.com
31Jan/090

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Jan 31, 2009

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Jan 31, 2009

The latest in Blog entries and articles that might interest Flash game developers.

This time we cover: The biggest browser based  game sites; A selection
of general game design topics (applicable to Flash, Flex and other dev systems);
Tutorials on AS3 specifically, Box2D, and BitmapData effects; The 4K game
competition; Using Digg to your advantage; Emotion in games; Audio Design, and
much more...

Everything you need to know to become a Video Game Designer
GameDev.net's Tony Nuynh provides the goods in a

very in-depth article
.

What are the biggest browser based game sites?
Squize (over at gamingyourway.com) has found the list on Gamasutra.
I feel (I'm not rocket scientist) that browser based 3D (especially Unity) is
going to be the next big thing (or is now). The ranks of bedroom and indie 3D game developers will thin out as the technologies get more expensive and difficult to develop for though. I'd love to see Mochi and GameJacket ads in all browser-based game/multimedia content. That will just help drive up the eCPM for everyone.

On that Note, ComScore has released their online games study
Freelance Flash Games is reporting that ComScore has released their list of the top browser games sites (probably the same data used in the Gamasutra article).

Make a Rhythm Based Game in AS3
Mr. Sun has posted the 7th and final (finishing touches) installment in his series on creating a Rhythm Based game in AS3.

Colby's Programming TidBits - Constraining the MAX Rotation Turn Rate Per Second
Cheezeworld has posted a new, very well done, tutorial on using a Matrix to constrain the amount of rotation an entity can rotate per second or tick.
He has the code library ready for you to use even if you can't understand what is going on.

4K Game Competition
Game Poetry and Urbansqual are

hosting a 30 day 4K game competition
. There will be a monetary prize of some
sort (not necessary, but very cool by the way). I have an idea for my entry, and no, there is no way my entire game framework will fit in 4K because I write
code like a bloated bastard. I will have to fly by the seat of my pants on this
one...

Free graphics for use in any game
Urbansqual's
Tim Wendorf has created a free tile sheet of fruit, veggies, food and
other items that can be used in just about any game.

Fatalexception has the

Ultimate Collection of Free Vector Pack
.

BOX2D For Absolute Beginners (no Bowie songs included)

Emanuele has

part 1
and

part 2
of his excellent BOX2D tutorials up on his site.

Freeactionscript.com goodness
Freeactionscript.com has
been hard at work lately...
-
Dynamic
Bitmap Particle Explosion

-Dynamic
Bitmap Particle Explosion with Gravity

-Dynamic
Bitmap Mouse Trailer with Graviity

-Realistic
Bitmap Smoke Trailer

-Realistic
vertical bitmap smoke trailer

-Using
BitmapData - center Bitmap inside a MovieClip

-Using
BitmapData - Attach an Image Dynamically

And more. Phil has been on fire lately, so check out his ZarJaz.

How to Harness the Power of Digg
You mean there's more to
it than being 13 years old and emailing your Myspace and Facebook friends lists
repeatedly, begging them to digg the story you submitted on how Boba Fett's jet
pack never became cannon in the Star Wars universe?  -
Jeff Gorndt
(through Mochiland) tells you how
.  Speaking of that, go ahead and Digg
this story for me.

Advanced Game Audio Design
Gamasutra's Zachary Quarles

provides an in-depth look at the art of modifying the audioscape
volume to
create greater engagement for the player.

Can games be realistic emotional simulators
F
ind out how
to AI might be designed to emulate  human emotion in games

in this Gamasutra feature
.

Mark Watson's Free Game Development Books

His work is mostly
centered on Java
, but all of his ideas can be translated to AS3. 
Practical Artificial Intelligence Programming in Java is a free download or
$21.95 in a printed version. He also have other interesting books in the works
that you can take a look at.

Here are 8bitrocket towers
We have been adding to our dev
diaries on our

Generalized Flex Game Control
and our reference app for it called

Micro Robot Maze
.
Also we added five games by
Scritpedfun
and New Star
Soccer Trials
to our Retro Aracde.

As always, visit Flashgameblogs.com for your daily dose...

30Jan/090

Silverlight Game Development Interweb Mash-Up Jan. 30th, 2009

It is still very quiet on the Silverlight game development front this week. However, we will forge through as we believe this platform is going to be very significant very soon.

Microsoft has not added any more games to their Silverlight.net Showcase this week, but the silverlight.net community gallery has added a couple small ones:

  • Tic Tac Toe by Lee Saunders is a version of this very simple game, but Lee has included all the code and project files. I look forward to his next experiment in A.I.
  • SimpleVB has a cool little "bouncing ball" game reminiscent of many Flash games out there. It shows a lot of promise.

The Mix 2009 10K Smart Coding Challenge Has A ton Of Cool Silverlight Game Entries. The key to the contest is to Make a game in 10K or less. I love stuff like this because it forces programmers to really think about what they are going to to use in their game, and still make it fun.

  • Battle Planes is a take on Battleship by Sorin Tarceatu.
  • Bubble Mania by Gabriel Nitulescu is in the "Click Like Things Next To Each Other To Make Them Disappear" genre. It's simple, but games like this are always enjoyable.
  • Silver Rubix is a great looking Rubiks Cube simulation by Timmy Kokke.
  • Spin And Win is a gorgeous slot machine simulator by Grant Archibald
  • Warp Jumper, a cool pseudo 3D bouncing ball game from Wian van Aggelen
  • Silverhack, Tommi Pirttiniemi's version of Nethack written in Silverlight

There are many more good games too, so check out the full list of entries.

Here is something old, but really cool: Chris Bowen's list of Silverlight Games (some with source code) from last June.

Also, here is a very recent Silverlight vs. Flash game comparison from the masters over at ShineDraw: Snake Snacks Game.

Finally, we launched our own new game written in Silverlight named "Zamboozal Silverlight", based on a game we made 20 years go. You read about it and play it here: http://www.8bitrocket.com/newsdisplay.aspx?newspage=23363

Anyway, that is it for this week. We'll back again next time with even more...

Filed under: Silverlight No Comments
28Jan/090

New Star Soccer Trials added to the 8bitrocket Retro Arcade

New Star Soccer Trials added to the 8bitrocket Retro Arcade

What a treat to stumble upon Simon Read's first viral Flash game. Created as an advertisement for his incredible New Star Soccer 4, New Star Soccer Trials pits you in the role of squad trainee, competing for a place on the team.  The retro look and feel are straight out of Sensible and Kick Off (as well as taken directly from his own NSS3).

What does the author have to say:
Show the coach that you have what it takes to be a football superstar!
by Simon Read (New Star Games)

nsstrials_fullscreen.jpg

8bitrocket take:
8bitrocket take: It's no secret that I am a huge fan of the New Star Soccer series of games. I stumbled onto Simon's mini Flash version of some of the training challenges and I haven't been able to put it away since. It has the retro look I loved so much from NSS3 - think Sensi crossed with Kick Off. Anyway, enjoy what I hope will be Si's first of many great retro Flash games.  TRY IT!

28Jan/090

Read full chapters from the new Atari VCS book, Racing The beam

Read full chapters from the new Atari VCS  book,  Racing The beam

Steve and I have been following the progress of this book for the last few months. We don't know the authors or have any vested interest in the title. We do though think the idea of taking a deep look inside the VCS as a platform and deeply exploring 6 genre defining games sounds very interesting and exciting (especially for Atari nerds such as ourselves).

MIT press has the PDFs of the 3 chapters available, as well as an easy to use Google Preview version.

After reading the Forward, opening chapter and index, I can't wait for it to come out.

racingthebeam.jpg

The book is available NOW. It can be ordered from the publishers site and Amazon.com.

Filed under: Atari Nerd No Comments
27Jan/090

Building A Generalized Flex Game Control Part 4 – TileSheet class

Building A Generalized Flex Game Control Part 4 - TileSheet class

In part 1, I discussed and mused over what parts of the MVC pattern (if
any) to implement in my Flex game control.

In part 2, I dug down into my thoughts on the rendering engine and how I
was unable to get anything displayed on the screen before the pipes
burst at my house and I was forced to continue writing this from a
Hotel (now still).

In part 3, I finally got the code of the rendering engine working (not
completely by any means, but working satisfactorily.

In this forth part we will dissect the TileSheet class. This class is the
basic building block for any game made with this engine. It is used to describe
the tile sheet attributes for a particular png file that can be used to fuel the
blitting engine. It takes a BitmapData object as its first parameter, as well as
the width and height of the entire tile sheet and the width and height of a
single til

Before we go any further, why don't we look at my progress so far with the
reference app that I am using to help test and create the general engine. We'll
then show the entire class code and finally discuss how the reference app makes
use of the TileSheet class.

Reference application so far (not much, but I'll explain what we are seeing
later)

The code for the TileSheet Class

[cc lang="javascript" width="550"]
package com.bitrocket8.display{
import flash.display.BitmapData;

/**
* ...
* @author Jeff Fulton
*/
public class TileSheet{
private var _sourcebitmap:BitmapData;
private var _width:int;
private var _height:int;
private var _tilewidth:int;
private var _tileheight:int;
private var _framesperrow:int;

public function TileSheet(sourcebitmap:BitmapData,width:int, height:int, tilewidth:int, tileheight:int ){
_sourcebitmap = sourcebitmap;
_width = width;
_height = height;
_tileheight = tileheight;
_tilewidth = tilewidth;
_framesperrow = int(_width / _tilewidth);
}

public function getsourcebitmap():BitmapData {
return _sourcebitmap;
}

public function setsourcebitmap(val:BitmapData):void {
_sourcebitmap = val;
}

public function getframesperrow():int {
return _framesperrow;
}

public function getwidth():Number {
return _width;
}

public function setwidth(val:Number):void {
_width = val;
}

public function getheight():Number {
return _height;
}

public function setheight(val:Number):void {
_height = val;
}

public function gettilewidth():Number {
return _tilewidth;
}

public function settilewidth(val:Number):void {
_tilewidth = val;
}

public function gettileheight():Number {
return _tileheight;
}

public function settileheight(val:Number):void {
_tileheight = val;
}
}
}
[/cc]

This is a pretty simple class. It is basically a holder for information about
a BitmapData object plus the information needed to use it as a Tile Sheet for
blitting from. Also, we have some access methods for getting and setting the
attributes. After
completing quite a few games using blitting and tile sheets in AS3, I always
found myself painted into a corner when it came to the tiles the represent the
objects in the game. Too often I needed to change the look of the player for
a few seconds or add an overlay on top. These operations always necessitated custom code that
needed to be shoe-horned inline into the render method of my player object based
on some sort of switch or combination of switches.

To combat that problem I started this Generalized Flex Game Control with the
sole purpose of making it much easier to change the state of an object's look
with out a huge set of in-line game specific code. So, for the above reference
app, I first defined the states for the button GO button in a png.

go button

I decided that the first two frames would alternate when the mouse is "off"
of the button. The 3rd, yellow is the "over" state and the 4th, white is the
"click" state.

This TileSheet is embedded into a Main game control view state called
ScreenTitle. (I will delve into this and all of the other classes in detail in
future installments).   In Flex, the embed looks like this:

[cc lang="javascript" width="550"]
[Embed(source = "../assets/titlescreen.png")]
private var titlescreenPNG:Class;
[/cc]

Later in the ScreenTitle class, we instantiate the TileSheet with this code:

[cc lang="javascript" width="550"]
private var _gobuttonBitmapSource:Bitmap;
private var _gobuttonTS:TileSheet;
_gobuttonBitmapSource = new gobuttonPNG();
_gobuttonTS = new TileSheet(_gobuttonBitmapSource.bitmapData, 400, 50, 100, 50);
[/cc]

Now our TileSheet is ready for use. In the next part of this series we will
explain the BlitContainer class as it currently stands and go into detail on how
the 3 button states are created, updated and rendered.

When you click the [Go] button in the above reference application, you will
be taken to the first game screen in Micro Robot Maze. All of the squares in
this grid are blitted from a single TileSheet also. This grid makes use of some
sub classes of my BlitCanvas class that add in the ability for them to pass
their ID back in a custom click event. In that way, we can easily tell which
square was clicked. Anyway, that is getting ahead of the current lesson. This
was a the direst short tutorial in a series of digestible bites that we will
take while developing this engine over time.

26Jan/090

Play Retro DOS Games Easily on your Mac (or PC, but not as easily)

Play Retro DOS Games Easily on your Mac (or PC, but not as easily)

The ultra cool DOSBox software has been available for the Mac (as well as Windows and Linux platforms for a while now), but I always had a little trouble getting some of my favorite games to work : Raptor, Wolf 3d, Doom, Halloween Harry, etc can all be made to work with a decent knowledge of the software settings and a little patience. I have always lacked the necessary time to play with it and get them to work until now.

Now, with the help of Boxer, built on top of DosBox, you can very easily play almost any DOS game on your Mac.

boxer1.jpg

Just install the app by dragging it to your applications folder (or any folder really) and it will be ready to use. It comes with 4 demo games: Commander Keen 4, Epic Pinball Demo, Ultima Underworld demo, and the X-Com UFO Defense Demo. All are playable right out of the box (so to speak). You can easily find links to 100's more demo and full games (IP released by the owners only of course). These are easily installed by simply dragging the folder of game install files to the Boxer "Drop games here to install them" program.

I found the demo of a Wolf 3d engine created game called Blake Stone. It plays in a large window on my iMac, but here  it in a small window (good for web consumption).
dosbox2.jpg

I have spent a little too much time playing with this wonderful app. Anyone who misses those days gone by, or who never experienced them should try out Boxer (Mac)  or DosBox (PC).

Filed under: Apple No Comments
23Jan/090

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Jan 23, 2009

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Jan 23, 2009

The latest in Blog entries and articles that might interest Flash game developers.

This time we cover: Flashgamedistribution.com in beta; New PixelBlitz features and demos; A new Mochi contest; tips for protecting your high scores; How to get Flex FP10 and Eclipse to play well together; How to use Google OpenSocial with Flash games; plus a bunch of tutorials, and more.

FlashGameDistribution.com (Beta)
If you are interested in joining the beta for the new game distribution service provided by the team behind FlashGameLicense, then hop on over there and sign up. This service is very much needed and hopefully it will become a method that can alleviate game devs from having to spend countless hour submitting their games to portals only to be ignored or rejected 90% of the time - now we can be ignored and rejected without much work =). I hope the service actually improves the situation, and given the people behind it, I am exited at the possibilities.

Also, for those interested in such statistics (me), FreelanceFlashGames has posted some interesting erata statisics on FlashGameLicense. For example, did you know that average sponsor view for games that have sold on FGL is 54, while the average sponsor view for all games is 28? With a couple of my games hovering just over the 12 mark, I can understand why I scramble pay for hosting this site (make better games, Jeff, DUH!)

PixelBlitz is Crankin'
Rich Davey has been putting a lot of time lately into the Norm Soule released PixelBlitz game engine. He has an impressive shoot'em'up demo running and has been adding features to the engine such as integration with Box2D. You can check out the engine and all of the updates at the PixelBlitz.org site.

How To Get Flash 10 For Flex to Work in Eclipse
Mark G (IckyDime) has a nice new how to on setting up Eclipse to target the Flash 10 player.

Make A Vertical Shooter in AS2
Mr. Sun has posted the final installment of his six part series on making a classic vertical shooter in AS2. It is a well done series, and I am sure there will be quite a few Mochi clones of this floating around soon.

4 Good Tips For Protecting the High Score In You Game
I have them memorized now, but you will have to visit Freelanceflashgames to find out what I know and you don't (yet).

Applying Recursive Development to Games
No, I don't mean writing a recursive algorithm for a Tetris or Match 3 game (that would make a good tutorial though, hmm). I mean hopping over to Game Poetry and checking out the post on using recursion to actually develop your games. The core idea is that any large game is made up of many smaller medium sized games, and each of those medium sized games is made up of a series of smaller games. It is little like using a BSP tree or a grid for collision detection but applied to the game development process (my words, not theirs. They are much more eloquent that I ever could be).

Designing the structure of a Flash AS3 game (The Italian Way)
Emanuele has posted the third part in his series on designing the structure of a Flash AS3 game. He also has a really really nice new header graphic and logo, and he has also been experimenting with selling his own in-game banner ads. It seems to be working out well for him. For example, SamePhysics has Mochi ads at the beginning AND a banner ad inside the game during game play.

A Simple Method to Target The Closest Enemy MC in a Game
Freeactionscript has a demo and .fla if you have the need. Also, check out the simple Flash Light Effect. Pretty sweet.

Video Turorial on MovieClip Communication
Flashgameu.com has a nice video tutorial on on communicating between movieclips in AS3.

Use Google OpenSocial to socialize your Flash games
DevX.com has a great tutorial on using the Javascript API to add social features into your games.

The Mochi World of 3D Contest
Mochimedia and Freespin 3D have teamed up for a contest with some attractive prizes. To qualify, your game must use the Freespin API, and incorporate the Mochi Version Control and encryption services.

As always, visit Flashgameblogs.com for your daily dose...

21Jan/090

Silverlight Game Development Interweb Mash-Up : Jan 21st, 2009

Silverlight Game Development Interweb Mash-Up : Jan 21st, 2009

Things are still a bit slow on the Silverlight game development side, but we plan to help liven things up with this weekly column devoted to all things tagged GAME in the world of Microsoft's Silverlight 2 platform.

The first is this nice multi-part game development tutorial from developer Joel Neubeck (http://joel.neubeck.net/) named Developing a Casual Game with Siverlight 2. Joel is already up to part 3, but here is short run-down of his previous (and current) modules:

The full series promises to be quite a watershed set of instructional tutorials, and it would be wise to get in on this one as soon as possible.

Another interesting item on Silverlight.net is the Balder3D game engine. The last update was in October of 2008, but this seems like a very interesting project that we will continue to follow.

ShineDraw.com is a site dedicated to comparing Flash to Silverlight. The quality of the work on this site is very high. Although there is not a lot of game content, most of the examples here could be used for multiple game projects.

Silverlight Switch is yet another site dedicated to moving from Flash to Silverlight.

Microsoft has added a ton of new content to their Silverlight Showcase this week including these games:

 

On the personal front, our first entry in the Flash To Silverlight series was highlighted on the Channel 9 TCS Weekly blog on msdn which was really cool. You can listen to the podcast with our shout-out here. It is inspiring to be recognized by the Silverlight community after just a couple short weeks into developing for the platform. It makes us want to continue at double-speed. Thanks Channel 9.

We also put up the second in the series, a very short and focused discussion about random numbers, and we will soon have another where we compare building a poker-dice game in both Silverlight and Flash AS2.

Anyway, that is it for this week. If you have any news, blogs, games, etc. that you think we should highlight in our weekly Mash-Up, please send them to info@bitrocket.com or leave a comment below.

Filed under: Silverlight No Comments
20Jan/090

iPhone Game Reviews: Rainbow Ninja

Rainbow Ninja is a tough game to review, since it is not really much of a game at all. It's more of test of the ability to read words and see colors. It is very similar to one of the games on the Nintendo DS game Brain Age. In that game, a "color" word is displayed on the screen (i.e. "red","green","blue","yellow") and you must say the color of the text, not the word itself. For instance, if the word green showed-up, you would say "blue" into the DS speaker.

Rainbow Ninja Screen

Rainbow Ninja takes this idea and boils it down to the most basic game imaginable for the iPhone. The game displays colored color words, and you must press the right circle of color on the interface depending on which instruction is displayed: Press Word or Press Text Color. If it says "Press Word", you must press the color of the word as read.(i.e. Blue would have you press the blue button on the screen,). If it says "Press Text Color" you must press the color of the word as displayed (i.e. Blue would have you press the green button on the screen,).

That's it. If you mess-up once, the game is over. The game counts how many times you get the answer correct in a row. The idea here is to train yourself to make sure you are reading what you are seeing, and seeing what you are reading. While the game is quite basic, it is very addictive. The developer describes the game as both "evil" and "deviously simple". They are correct, as there is no better way to describe it. I personally would have liked to see a couple more variations on the same theme included, because what is here might be a bit too basic, especially in light of some of the other puzzle games we've reviewed on this site for the iPhone. Still, I'm compelled to play this one again and again, even as I mutter "$#@! Evil Rainbow Ninja" to myself each time I restart,

Filed under: Apple No Comments
20Jan/090

iPhone Game Reviews: Aqua Jigsaw and Jigsaw Wild From 99Games.in

Jigsaw puzzles have been a staple of web-based Flash games for many years. The combination of hi-res images and and the mouse/web interface made a nice platform for easy to play and easy to digest small jigsaw based games. The iPhone touch interface takes this to a slightly higher level, as it adds a tactile element to building puzzles that is missing from the web based games.

99 Games has recently released two collections of Jigsaw puzzles that build on this tactile element of the iPhone interface.

 

Both Aqua Jigsaw and Jigsaw Wild include 24 images (sea life and wild animals respectively) that can be turned into 4-24 piece jigsaw puzzles. You have the option to of irregular pieces (jigsaw-like) and regular (rectangle), as well as the option to load your own images from your iPhone photo library.

When the game starts, you get to see the image before it is cut into pieces that are scattered over the iPhone screen. You then move the pieces around with your finger. When two pieces touch that connect, they join together and become one piece that you can move around. In-turn, those larger pieces can be moved around and connected. As a basic Jigsaw app, this all works fine. You can save your progress, which is nice feature since the bigger puzzles can take some serious time to complete.

As a basic Jigsaw standpoint, the game works well. Moving the pieces with your finger is a nice change from games that require a mouse interface. However, there is one thing that an iPhone jigsaw game could include that would raise it even further above it's "point and click" counter-parts: rotation. No pieces are ever "rotated" in place in either Aqua Jigsaw or Jigsaw Wild. It would have been nice to have a "hard" difficulty option that rotated the pieces and then utilized a multi-touch interface with a finger twisting motion to rotate the pieces as well as the simple movement interface.

Having said that, the options that are included are fairly robust, especially the ability to use your own images and to save your game in-progress. While the included images are very nice, this opens-up the apps for unlimited playability, which is bargain for the price of $1.99.

Filed under: Apple No Comments
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