8bitrocket.com
26Feb/090

Silverlight Game Development Interweb Mash-Up Feb. 25, 2009

Sorry, I missed a week of this mash-up, but I'm back again with another entry chock-full of Silverlight Game Development Goodness.

This week we check out new entries in the Silverlight Game Development Blogosphere.

The guys over at Silverlight Games 101 have just launched a new Silverlight Game portal, SilverArcade.com. They are currently accepting game submissions and ideas for a their new logo for the site. This is great news for Silverlight Game Developers. Another great idea they have is "quality control". They will not be accepting every game that come across their inbox. This is great news for devs who are tired of competing with the latest pile of "Developed-in-2-hours-from-stolen-code super-click" games for attention from portal players.

The fine people over at Shine Draw have a couple of interesting new bits for Silverlight Game devs. The first is a discussion about Eclipse for Silverlight (http://www.eclipse4sl.org/), a nice tool for people used to working with open source technologies and Flash devs who can't get into Visual Studio. The other interesting entry has some good examples of Drag And Drop that can be used all manner of Silverlight web games.

Andy Beaulieu has a nice little entry on the Server Quest Contest, a $5000 Silverlight Game Making contest...

By the way, as an aside, Silverlight Game Developers might not be aware of this, but Flash Game Developers have been participating in contests like this for many years now. It is essential that you read the fine-print in the rules before you submit anything to a contest. Many contests are held by sites simply to get access to new games exclusively (and sometimes source code), and you waive any right to compensation by submitting. The Contest Rules for this one state the following:

  • are granting us and our respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents an irrevocable, worldwide right and license to: (i) use, store, review, assess, test and otherwise analyze your entry and all its content in connection with this Contest; (ii) change the format, transcode, or otherwise process the game to conform to the network's or website's technical requirements or limitations, and (iii) feature your entry and all its content in connection with the promotion of this Contest in all media (now known or later developed);

Believe it or not, this one is not as bad as many that Flash Developers run into on a daily basis. Notice though the words affiliates, and irrevocable . Simply put they could give your game to any affiliates (which could be anyone), and irrevocable means you can do nothing about it. Still, this is much better than some agreements I have read. This one seems to be limited to the contest. I've read agreements that give the web site a license to create derivative works based on your I.P. which means they could take all your assets and make "Game II" and you could do nothing about it. Watch out for that and ALWAYS read the rules and regs before entering a contest. Many times, they are not worth it.

Mashoo has some great news including items about Spicing Up Your Silverlight Loader and the Graphic Design Of A Fictional Character. They also have some interesting new games including Tire Storm, Farseer's new physics-based game, and Snake Charm, a cool little take on this classic game. At the same time, Farseer is also touting Tire Storm right now too, as well as We Are bugs, their entry into the Mix09 10K contest.

In short news, I'm not sure if I mentioned this last time, but Aven's Corner has a nice set of kids' games built in Silverlight, and we launched a simple kids game named Katie's Heart Catcher earlier this month. Also, don't forget top check out the newest games on Silverlight.net, and on the Mix09 10K Contest site.

That's it for this week, thanks for reading.

Filed under: Silverlight No Comments
24Feb/090

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Feb 24, 2009

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Feb 24, 2009

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

This time we cover: Game math tutorials; Paper Vision, and Box2D tutorials; Blogs on the 4K game Contest, render profiling, Multiplayer v. Single player design issues; Game Producer deadline management; Freelance Flash Games in depth investigations on thumb nails and titles; Some general game development articles on AI specific topics; A whole bunch of new games and other various zarjaz.

From the blogs
- Are you interested in entering the 4K game contest? There have been some optimization discussions on GYW, Photon Storm, Urbansquall (From the great Tony Pa) and 8bitrocket (here, here and here).
- From the Gambrinous blog (new to this round-up) : Multiplayer v. Single Player: Opposite Design Goals
- Sokay.net has a great new layout and look.
- Edge Online's Future of Games is Flash Article
- Stephen Calender's Flash Render Profiling

New Tutorials and Example Code to expand your skills
- Free Actionscript's awesome realistic bitmap explosion.
- Free Actionscript's MovieClip rotation around a point.
- Free Actionscript's Rotating MovieClips toward the mouse.
- Free Actionscript's Get Radians and Degrees
- Free Actionscript's Distance between two MovieClip objects
- Emanuele's Basic Filler engine with Box2D part 1
- AS Gamer's Character Movement: Helicopter Games
- Flash Perfection's advanced mesh splitting tutorial for Papervision 3D (from /www.bukisa.com)
- Check out all of the game programming tutorials that Flash Perfection has to offer.
- Part 7 of Michael James Williams' avoider game tutorial

Helpful hints from the field
- Alexander Shen's Mochi Land treatise on the dress-up game genre.
- Game Producer's article on deadline management.
- The AS3 blog has a new helpful tutorial (from the ASGamer.com site) on making a a basic Flash AS3 game.
- Free e-book download of the MX 2004 based 100 Flash Hacks Book.
-

Game Monetization
- Freelance Flash Games has an in depth analysis of the effective use of words and images in game titles and thumbnails for the most successful Flash games. Also check out his 10 ways to get players to pay for micro transactions post, and also Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in your thumbnails?
- Game Producer interview with indie success story Cliff Harris (Positech).He single-handedly makes quality indie games for PC and Mac.

Game Programming Articles, tutorials and hints outside the world of Actionscript
- Gamasutra's Pure Advantage: Racing Game AI
- Gamasutra's Creating All Humans: A Data-Driven AI Framework for Open Game Worlds

Some games to check out
- Check out the latest build of Squize's X++ (Build 16).
- Check out Lorenz's latest multiplayer game: Connect 4.
- It's not ready yet, but Urbansquall's Robo Riot looks like pure class!
- Do miss Sokay.net's excellent Sammy Samurai Runner and the outstanding ThugJacker. (it's a work in progress, so let's encourage them to finish it!)
- I'm looking forward to Hatu's Ragdoll Keeper!
- Play Flash Game Friday recent winner, Never Ending Light - a very well made Adventure Game.

 

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

23Feb/090

Atari Nerd Inter-Web Mash up – Feb 23, 2009

Atari Nerd Inter-Web Mash up - Feb 23, 2009

What's new (and old) in the world of Atari - Press releases, blogs, sites and more...

It has been a while since I explored the world of Atari Online (Early January, I think),so there is a lot of new content to cover. If you are looking for anything recent in the world of Atari (new or old) you will probably find it here. We scour the web to bring you the latest news, reviews, blogs, and more on classic Atari systems, as well as news from the world of the new Atari.

Announcements from the Current Atari
-Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is coming out April 7th for PS3 and XBox 360.
-Atari announced that Race Pro, a hardcore racing simulation will be released exclusively for the 360.
- June 16th is the new release date for the highly anticipated Ghost Busters The Video Game on PC, 360, PS3, Wii, and PS2 (!!!! there is some life in that baby!).

Early Atari and Atari History
- This guy stashed 3 Million sealed Atari Carts in a cave in 1990 and is now selling them. All games are $5.00 each and available here.
- PongMuseum.com has opened its doors celebrating all games in the pong mold.
- Retro Thing article on the fantastic book, Racing the Beam.
- Digitpress interview with Atari 2600/800 artist, Marilyn Churchill.
- Retrogaming Times has a feature on the Atarisoft versions of Donkey Kong and Pacman for the Apple II
- Video Games Console blog features on Pong, Stunt Cycle, Video Pinball and Super Pong
- Classic Pole Position Commercial

Atari 2600
-
Atari2600.com has announced the imminent release of a new VCS 2600 game called Atari Arena. It includes 7 different games in one and looks quite fun and well cone.
- Atari Mania random 2600 game (from the home page): Joust.
- Atari Protos.com adds coverage of Androman on the Moon, and Rob Fulop's Actionauts

- Recycled Gaming reviews / features: Frostbite, Fishing Derby, River Raid, Fantastic Voyage, California Games
- Atari Age thread on Zoo Keeper game video discovery
- Atari Age thread on Raiders of The Lost Ark II PC game.
- Wii 2600 - 2600 emulator for the Wii!!!
- Guitar Hero 2600 Mod.
- Top 25 "it" products of all time #5: Atari 2600.
- Classic Game Room HD reviews of Basic Math, and Memory Match
- Too Much Free Time blog feature on 2600 Indy 500.

Atari 5200
- 10 worst video game consoles of all time list at Kezins.com: 5200 #5 (Jaguar #8)
-Video Game Console Blog feature on the Atari 5200
- The Captain's blog 5200 feature with classic commercial.
- Too Much Free Time blog feature on 5200 Qix.

Atari 7800
- Classic Game Room HD 7800 Xenophobe review.
- Classic Game Room HD7800 Desert Falcon review + Galaga, Ball Blazer
- Viva la Twisted Kitten feature on the failings of the 5200, Lynx and 7800

Atari 8-bit Computers
- Current highest rated 8-bit game on Atari Mania: Animal Party
- Gamasutra article (from Armchair Arcade guys) article on Pinball Constructions Set.
- DigitPress thread on the best Atari 8-bit gaming platform
- Video Games Console blog feature on the Atari 400.
- Vintage Computers and Gaming spotlight on Alan Miller's 8-bit basketball as having the first black character.
- Vintage Computers and Gaming spotlight on the Atari Touch Tablet (we had the Koala Pad,was it the same?).

Atari ST
-
Guardians of the Past: Go there NOW if you are an ST fan. This is the new rival to Atari Legend and the new Atari Mania ST Database! Simply incredible.
- Richard Davey (from the famous www.atari.st) sent over a link to the Atari ST Games DVD by Marcer. There is a version on-line at his site and also a DVD for sale that includes a lot of extras.He has been working on this project every day and night for 5 years, so it is a treat for everyone who ever loved or owned an Atari ST.
- Also from the desk of Mr. Richard Davey, a link to a selection of the best ST, STE, and Falcon scene demos in video format for everyone to enjoy (at the dead hackers society).
-
Rainbird's classic Krypton egg (Amiga and ST) is being released for the iPhone.
-
The Atari Mania ST game and software database is open for a public beta.
-
The Joy Of Sticks reviews: Lode Runner.
-
Guardians of the Past random ST software on the home page: Art Director.
-
Matty takes a look at Metal Mutant for the ST, Amiga and DOS.
-
Atari Legend random featured ST game: Akron
-
Armchair Arcade post on ST/Amiga 3 inch disk history/trivia.

Atari Lynx
- Tech Snake finds a classic Lynx commercial.
- Dr Moo's plays Chip's Challenge, Basketbrawl and Blue Lightening

Atari Jaguar
- 10 worst video game consoles of all time list at Kezins.com: Jaguar #8 (5200 #5)
- Dr Moo's plays Brutal Sports Football
- Video Review of Jaguar Ultimate Brain Games
- The Angry Video Game Reviewer : Jaguar Part II
- Video Review of Jaguar Doom
- Retro Roms Jaguar No Intro Set

Various other Atari
-
Play tiny Java versions on Atari classic arcade games online at the Atari Junior Arcade. There are also a few games to download to your machine.
-
Interested in collecting anything Atari related? Check out AtariGuide.com.
-
The Retro Gaming Roundup podcast #1.
-
Top 10 Baseball games of all time featuring Home Run,(2600), Pete Rose (2600), Real Sports (5200).
-
2600 Donkey Kong and Pacman listed in this blogs 5 worst ports of all time (800 version of DK given props though).
-
Viva la Twisted Kitten feature on the failings of the 5200, Lynx and 7800

Filed under: Atari Nerd No Comments
18Feb/090

Atari Nerd Chronicles: The Lost Age Of The Pizza Parlor

There is something significant missing on the restaurant landscape these days, at least here in the South Bay near L.A. in California: the classic 70's/80's "Pizza Parlor". This was not just a pizza restaurant, but a community experience unlike anything that exists today in franchise form. "The Pizza Parlor" was not a single restaurant, but instead, a concept of what it meant to eat pizza with your friends and family. There were two main establishments that offered similar experiences in this genre, and here they are in order of importance: Straw Hat Pizza, and Shakey's Pizza. That is all. Sure, there were some others (Pizza Hut, Round Table, Lamp Post, and Wildflower for instance), but they were either sub-par (Pizza Hut) or not major players (all the others) in our little neighborhood.

The concept of the "Pizza Parlor" went like this: It started with a huge communal room filled with long, wooden tables and benches (no chairs, and no booths please). Most of the lighting was removed or dimmed, and replaced with little candles in red-glass holders. Added to this was a movie screen in the back showing silent films, a mechanical horse ride, a selection of video games and pinball machines off to one side, and a small stage for live performances. Patrons walked-in and stood in-line to order. No wait-staff was allowed. You ordered your pizza at a small counter that allowed just enough of a view of the kitchen activity (i.e. pizza dough being tossed and twirled ) to let you know everything was being made to order. You picked-up your pizza sometime later at a similar window about 10 feet to the right. In-between was some kind of rustic decor: fake bricks, or a wall made of wine barrels and/or beer bottles. No matter what it was, this theme would extend around much of room, the setting the tone of the surroundings and the expectations of the patrons.

Two main items were available at "The Pizza Parlor": Pizza and beverages. The pizza was pretty much self-explanatory but varied by establishment (more on this later), the beverage situation however, was fairly unique. Adults would order pitchers of beer, and kids would emulate them with glasses of root beer. If the kids were really lucky, they would get a "pitcher" of root beer themselves. Soft drinks were never "all you can drink", so the "pitcher" was next best thing and it was very special indeed. Getting a "pitcher" of soft drinks was just about the coolest thing that could happen for a kid at one of these places. It was also rare, with only the richest parents willing to shell out the $4.00 required to buy one.

There was something very unique about this beverage situation that you do not find very often these days. You see, in the 70's and early 80's, it was fairly common for some adults to get very drunk with their kids in tow. It really did not matter what the occasion might have been (kids birthday party, soccer picnic, softball team dinner), the protocol was generally the same. These places were not Chuck'E'Cheese, where parents avoid the food and chase their kids for 2 hours. The amusements scattered around the place were there for these kids to GO do while the parents did their own thing, and many times this meant drinking until their livers called for an ambulance.

There was a lot of "waiting" in these "Pizza Parlors" and most of it stemmed from the fact that these places actually made their dough and pizzas from scratch and cooked  them in a pizza oven. This could take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes or more depending on the size of the crowd at the "Pizza Parlor". While waiting for the food, parents ordered more and more beer while socializing at the giant wooden tables. The kids meanwhile, wandered unsupervised through the darkened cavern looking for excitement. They did not have to look very far. The silent movie screen was the most obvious diversion, as it was the largest and the brightest. A loop of silent Laurel And Hardy, The Three Stooges, Tom And Jerry and old newsreels played continuously in the back corner of the room. It provided a kind of hypnotic aura to the place, offering an otherworldly dream-like state for those who stared too long at the flickering screen.

The next most obvious diversion was the mechanical horse. This was not your "in front of Lucky's Supermarket" kind of mini-horse hopper, but a near full-sized bucking bronco of a kid's ride. The horse stood at least as tall as any kid, and in some cases a good head above them. You would climb-up into the leather stirrups (usually with help from an older sibling), drop your coin into the giant brown coin-box of the one side, and prepare to lurch into action. The horse would start abruptly, and jolt back and forth wildly. While this was not "Urban Cowboy" mechanical horse by any means, for 4-8 year old kid it was quite a ride. The horse was operated by pennies and pennies alone. This was not some kind of money-making venture for the "The Pizza Parlor" either, as the pennies were available for free from the pick-up counter.

What was not free however, were the video games. "The Pizza Parlor" was one main places kids found new video games in the late 70's and very early 80's (before arcades proliferated and games showed-up at the front of every convenience store). The games were placed in a very special spot, right next to the entry-way, visible to the entire room. Their blinking screens punctuated the dimly lit interior, creating excitement in the kids with quarters burning in their pockets, waiting for their parents to to give them a green light to go over and play. Asteroids Deluxe, Missile Command, Gorf, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong and many others all made their local debut appearances at a local "Pizza Parlor". I distinctly recall a birthday party in 1981 at the local Straw Hat where I discovered a Pac-Man coin-op for the first time. It was a revelation to see a game with cartoon based graphics surrounded by the usual space ship and race car games. However, it was not just the new games that were fascinating, but more interesting were the older games that the establishments had purchased and from which they were still trying to wring every last coin. Electromechanical baseball, Atari's Qwak gun game, and many every early "space games" (i.e. Kee Games Starship I in the corner of the local Shakey's) that appeared and failed in the wake of "Star Wars" but before Space Invaders showed them how it was supposed to work. Most of these games were sheer rip-offs, but that was also part of the fun. When you found one that was actually good, it was like discovering buried treasure.

When the pizza finally came, it was always fantastic. Each "Pizza Parlor" had their own unique take on what a the perfect pizza could be, but Straw Hat was usually the kid favorite. Their pizza included  massive "cheese bubbles" over the crust that were as  fun to pop as they were to eat. The pieces were always cut very thin, which made sharing much easier. Shakey's Pizza was good as well because it had a distinct sauce (by comparison Straw Hat seemed to have very little sauce) and good mix of cheese. However, to be honest, the pizza was really the last act in well-rounded "Pizza Parlor" experience. It was important, but maybe not as important as just being there with all your friends having the time of your life.

Sometimes if you were really lucky, the silent movies would turn off, and the little stage would come alive with musicians. Often "The Pizza Parlor" was home to local blue grass and country artists who would play weekends and some week nights. Adding live music to the darkness, communal atmosphere, and pitchers of beer made for a truly memorable experience. In many cases, the adults would have just as good a time as the kids, and no one really batted an eye or made a suggestion that maybe the mix of kids games, silent movies, a live music, and a liquor license were not really appropriate. It just was the way it was. Sometimes the kids were even invited into to the act - my wife for instance. As a little girl in the early 70's, she was called-up on stage to sing with the likes Vince Gill, Emmy lou Harris, and The Sweethearts Of The Rodeo at the local Straw Hat while she was there late at night on multiple occasions with her very young and outgoing parents.

Almost every community celebration in my youth ended up taking place at "The Pizza Parlor". I attended dozens of birthday parties, school celebrations, Cub Scout get-togethers, and end-of-year sports team events at one of these restaurants.  One of my fondest memories of the "Pizza Parlor" was in 1980, when our soccer team, The Rowdies, held our end-of-the-season celebration at Straw Hat Pizza. Our coach was loaded (money-wise), and he spread his wealth that year over his son's soccer team. He owned his own textile company so the team had custom uniforms and jackets emblazoned with shiny fabric stars he awarded when we did something good in a game. His company had just made a deal with O. J. Simpson to create sports wear emblazoned with The Juice's initials. Not only did I cart a nice hefty trophy out of the Straw Hat that year, but also a loose-fitting blue-velour O. J. Simpson sweat suit that I won for being the the "most improved" player. Community events like these types of parties had a natural place at the "Pizza Parlor". As the kids guzzled pitchers of soft drinks, played video games, and generally ran around the place creating complete mayhem, the adults sat back and reminisced about their kids' passing youth over cold beer and warm memories.

- - -

In 1977 Pepsi Co. bought Pizza Hut and went on tear buying-up all the similar restaurant locations on the East Coast. By the late 80s Pizza Hut had become a behemoth in the East, and was ready to swallow the pizza business on a national scale. Their next target was out West and only Straw Hat stood in it's way (Shakey's a very small player). Here is blurb from the Straw Hat web site that explains what happened next:

By the mid-Eighties, Straw Hat Pizza was regarded as the dominant pizza restaurant in the Western United States as the Pizza Hut chain was trying to establish a market presence in the same area. Pizza Hut made a move to eliminate a major stumbling block to its own expansion by purchasing all company owned Straw Hat Pizza restaurants in 1987; thus removing its prevailing competition.

Pizza Hut was never a favorite in our neighborhood. As mentioned before, the pizza was not very good, but they also had a different attitude about eating it. They had waiters, tables with chairs, booths, and a menu that extended far beyond what a traditional "Pizza Parlor" offered. There was little of the communal atmosphere of "The Pizza Parlor" at Pizza Hut, and while they had some video games, you'd be hard-pressed to find a any kind mechanical horse, silent movies, or live music stage any where near one of their establishments. As far as I knew at the time, no one really frequented the local Pizza Hut very often. It was just not the place to go to be with other people. However, with the mighty wealth of Pespi co. behind it, Pizza Hut became unstoppable.

Within a couple years, the local Straw Hat was consumed by this effort and turned into a Pizza Hut. Nobody really wanted Straw Hat to go away, but there was no choice for the community. Large multi-national corporations felt they knew what was best for the concept of the "Pizza Parlor" and it's name was "homogenization". The local Shakey's stayed around a year or so longer than Straw Hat, but it did not last long either. All of the Shakey's restaurants in the USA were sold in 1989.

Shakey's Inc., the domestic division of Shakey's Pizza Restaurants Inc., has been sold to Inno-Pacific Holdings Inc. of Singapore, the companies said. Terms were not disclosed. (N.Y. Times, Feb 10, 1989)

They would see a similar fate to Straw Hat. Wikipedia had this to say about the fate of Shakey's:

Most of the U. S. stores closed during the time Inno-Pacific owned the chain.

And that was basically it for the glorious "Age of the Pizza Parlor". Within the span of a couple years the two biggest names in the area were eradicated, and in their place came either an empty storefront, or a very corporate, very bland substitute that never managed to become any kind of replacement.

-

Even as it's new sub-par incarnation, I still frequented the location of the Straw Hat Pizza often after it was converted to a Pizza Hut. Even though it had been gutted and most the things that had it special had been removed, like a zombie from Dawn Of The Dead, I returned to place of my rampant childhood consumerism as a force of habit. For what it was worth, the building still hosted some very significant events in my life. In my senior year, 1988, it was the place my only really serious high school girlfriend and I went on our first date. Several years later, my future wife and I went there every week to play our favorite pinball game Machine Bride Of Pinbot" (but we hardly ever ate the pizza). Still, it was hard to be there for very long without getting too nostalgic for the "Pizza Parlor" of my youth. Memories hung around the place around like residual spirits, magically implanted into walls by the sheer volume of joy that the building once held.

No matter how much I wanted it to be the same restaurant though, the changes that had taken place under the new Pepsi Co. regime doomed the place into obscurity. The lights had been turned brighter, the long wooden tables removed, and the root beer pitchers replaced with all-you-can drink cups filled with Pepsi products. The video games had been moved to a back corner , hidden from view, the mechanical horse and live stage removed to add more booths, and the silent movie screen rendered both mute and blind, and then later, covered-up with sports memorabilia. The smaller tables brought smaller groups and the communal, party, atmosphere of the "The Pizza Parlor" was stamped out completely. In time, the music and loud, happy voices from celebrating teams and community groups disappeared as well, never to return. By the year 2000, Pizza Hut lit their pizza ovens for the very last time, and moved to a new location as a delivery-only store-front. The building re-opened a few months later as a Mongolian BBQ rendering the final remaining link (no matter how thin it might have been) to the "Age Of The Pizza Parlor", gone forever.

18Feb/090

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Feb 17, 2009

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Feb 17, 2009

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

This is a little late this week, as I have been fighting off a very
nasty sinus infection that has turned our house into a hospital ward for the
last week.  I think it stemmed from the heater being knocked out for a 7
days when the weather was the coldest. So, Squize, I now agree that heat is more
important than Blackburn matches on the tele, but after the Rover's last cup
win, you gotta admit, not by much=)

This time we cover: A
couple excellent Flash game postmortems; optimization techniques for the 4K game
contest; creating games in banner ads; excellent tutorials on Box2D; some
helpful hints on how to become a Flash Game Developer; A selection of articles
on monetizing games; Colby's more than excellent AI library and a host of other
hints, tutorials, articles, and a few games to try out.

From the blogs
-Invaders Must Die (by the excellent GYW
team)

Post Mortem
brought to you by Game Poetry (On the Urban Squall Network). 
How come the asset pipeline is always a problem on our games too?
-Photon
storm has an

excellent set of optimization techniques
for you if you are making a game
for the

4K game contest
. (boy do I need them!)-Stephen Calender's
Postmortem on
his Lincoln Era Whitehouse Project

-Panayoti's excellent Mochiland

article on creating games in ad banners
.

New Tutorials and Example Code to expand your skills

-Freelance Flash Games tutorial on

how to make a Dress up Game
.
-Emanuele's new Box2D tutorials:

Gear Joints/a> and

Sling using Joints

-Free Actionscript's

Parallax Movement Effect

Helpful hints from the field
-Ickydime's

example of an AS3 scroll panel component
.(nice stuff, Mark!)
-Mr. Sun's very well written (as always) article on

how to become a Flash Game Developer

-Freelance Flash Games' article on how to make a
quality selection button
for your games.
-Freelance Flash Games'
excellent 10 pointers

on mistakes not to make when creating a game thumbnail
.

Game Monetization
-Freelance Flash Games'

article on the new in game ad system called Ad4Game
..
-The Flash Truth's
The '1' That Rules It
All
opinion piece on how long it takes to make a good, profitable game.
-The Flash Truth's article
on experiences with Flash Game License

-Read

Part 3
of the APMID $100,000 Flash Game Monetization series.
-Insidesocialgames.com's
Article on

Retrograde's game monetization offerings
.

Game Code Libraries
-Colby has really out done himself
with his

excellent offering of an AI steering behavior library
.  Check out the
flocking, interpose, and path following as well as all of the other behaviors.

 GaGame Programming Articles, tutorials and hint outside the world of
Actionscript
-Gamesutra's

opinion piece on the Evolution of Indie games
.
-Gamasutra's (sponsored)
feature on

using Ray Tracing on Quake Wars
.

Some games to check out
- Play the
awesomely retro

Watchmen side scrolling beat'em'up
at the Minutemen Arcade (thanks
to Alan "he-man" Donnelly for the link)

-Play the excellent retro
games by Kosoftgo.com
. I planned to add 2 to our arcade
last week, but got sick instead. They'll be added this week.

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

9Feb/090

Silverlight Game Development Interweb Mash-Up: Feb 9th, 2009

Silverlight Interweb Mash-Up Feb.9, 2009

Last week I had several people email me and ask to get their sites added to the weekly round-up. I say "GLADLY I Will add them! " The only way to get a bead on the Silverlight Game Development Community is to know that it exists out there. If I have missed anything (which I often do), feel free to tell me about it in the comments or via email in the contact section.

We will start this week with a look at the games that have been add to the Silverlight.net showcase:

  • Speed Poker:A unique take on Texas hold'em in which you try to select the best poker hands as fast as possible for 60 seconds. Avery compelling little game.
  • Silverlight Manic Miner: A silverlight version of the old ZXSpectrum Game, Manic Miner from Pete McGann and Roger Costell. The collision detection is nearly flawless and very impressive.
  • Mahjonged : A Nicely done mahjong game with the tantalizing option of a future "level editor". Cool.
  • Zamboozal Poker Dice: Yes, we hypnotized Silverlight.net into running our game as well.
  • Joe Rassic: Quite a nice looking and sounding dinosaur fighting game. It takes a LOOONG time to load though.

Now we move on to the Mix09 10K Contest:

  • Baltagz Aim: 20 second mouse clicking and aiming contest. A bit addictive I do say.
  • Jags 10K and Kendoku: Suduko! You know, I have a theory that this game was created to sap the mind-power of the Western world, while the East remains productive. Just a theory mind you.
  • Catchosoma: An action block puzzler where you try to catch the worlds' most notorious criminal. If only it was that easy.
  • Trapped: A "Click The hot spot" adventure game.
  • Chain Reaction: A decent version of the Flash game genre where you click circles that expand.
  • The Fish Game: A decent version of the popular Flash "food chain" fish game genre.

Next, we visit Mashooo to see what new games they have in their portal. Unfortunately, nothing was showing-up today. Hopefully they will have this fixed by next week.

On the blog front this week we first visit Andy Beaulieu's site where he is highlighting the work of Tiago Andrade e Silva in his quest to port the Physics Helper Library to Silverlight. Very promising. Over at Physics Powered Games they have just recently posted their first game, Diver, a sublime diving simulation with some of the smoothest graphics I have ever seen in a web game. Over at laumania.net they have posted a link to great to a piece about avoiding common mistakes when making Silverlight games. finally, Aven's Corner has posted two new Silverlight games, Laser Copter Inferno 2, cool, retro scrolling shooter, and Flabberblast, a very nice Bookworm style word game.

Well, that is it for this week. I have added all the new blogs that you have told me about to our Blog Roll, and I will visit all of them again this week, so if you want to get a mention, then update often!

 

Filed under: Silverlight No Comments
9Feb/090

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Feb 9, 2009

Flash Game Development Inter-web mash up: Feb 9, 2009

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

This time we cover:
The 4K Game Competition; New games from Photon Storm, Gaming Your Way, and The
Bedroom Labs; Many tutorials from Emanuele and Freeactionscript.com; Mochi
Contest winners; Game design and programming outside of Flash and more.

The 4K Game Competition
Sponsored by both the

Urbansqual
and

Gamingyourway
teams, this looks to be a real barnstormer.  Two $50
prizes are being offered by these community based blog sites. What makes this so
exciting is that they are basically taking money from their own pockets to
sponsor a competition where the only gain they achieve (other than a little
notoriety and maybe a few more site visits) is a gain for the entire Flash
gaming community: namely, some great, exceedingly well coded games.  If you
want to enter a game, you will have to give the sponsors the right to compile it
from Flash Develop and show your source code to the world. Unlike other
contests, you own all  the rights to YOUR game.   Nice work,
guys!

- Check out The Bedroom Lab's current 4K entry,
a side scrolling
shooter
.

Invaders Must Die
What do you get when you combine the
game design and technical superiority of Gamingyourway with the all out musical
assault of Prodigy?
Invaders Must Die
is a well made, fun, and stylistically unique side-scroller that incorporates a visual style that matches the the music very well,
and is also very fun to play. Some helpful hinds from the field;

Kyobi is going to be a massive hit
I have had the
pleasure of being a beta tester for the latest gem from Rich Davey of Photon
Storm. The game is not quite complete yet, but is up for bid on FlashGameLicense.

Kyobi
looks like a standard match 3 or Tetris style game, but under the hood
it is so much more. It adds in a generous splash of Box2D physics to create a
very unique game play style. Also, the game looks incredible, and should draw
some very very good sponsorship offers. If it doesn't, then the system is broken
and needs to be fixed (not Flashgamelicense.com, but the entire Flash casual
game industry).

Help FreelanceFlashgames.com improve

Freelanceflashgames.com is one of my favorite sites to mine for material. Please
visit the site and

vote for him to keep his blog and games
(or whatever you want to vote for).

New Tutorials and Example Code to expand your skills
-
Emanuele's

Creating a Sling With Box2D Using Joints

- Emanuele's

Box2D prismatic Joints

- Emanuele's

Box2D for Absolute Beginners Step 2

-
Freeactionscript.com's

Parallax Movement Effect

- Freeactionscript.com's

Car Movement: Acceleration, Breaking, Turning, and Reverse

-
Freeactionscript.com's

smooth 4-way Player Movement

- Freeactionscript.com's

Multiple Key Press Detection

Helpful hints from the field
-
Ickydime solves the
problem of

stopping FLV Playback's progressive download
.
- Stephen Calender's
Top 10 Flash
Performance Tips

 News from the world of Mochi
-
Mochi has announced the
winners of their Walk of Fame Contest. Special contrats to all of the winners:

Monster Evolution

Retardo and the Iron Golem

Monkey Go Happy


Neon Disks

and especially

Hatu's Whiflash
, which we

featured in our Arcade
.

Stephen Calender's Obstacles for Flash Game Deevelopment

Stephen puts
into writing a pretty good list of the faults associated with Adobe's recent
releases
in relation to game programming and design. He especially points
out its inconsistencies with other development platforms. It's a very fine
read.
- Also, check out Stephen's opinion piece on why
Flash as a
platform will dominate small web games
for the foreseeable future.

Game Programming Articles, tutorials and hint outside the world of
Actionscript
-
Gamedev.net's

2D Rotated Rectangle Collision

- Gamasutra's awesome

History of Pinball Construction Set
is a good read for anyone interested in
creating games that allow user customzation.

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

6Feb/090

Compile me Baby – A musical tribute to genius of Flash Develop

Compile me Baby - A musical tribute to genius of Flash Develop

Ok, so hear me out. I'm a little strange, there is no real way to deny it, but I was also really bored.
Last night was my final night in the hotel and I will finally be back in my house tomorrow. That means I will have full access to my development system, XBOX 360, Wii, etc and I won't have to do Google Searches and make up songs to keep my self entertained while the family sleeps quietly in the room.

I have been planning to make a "tongue firmly planted in cheek" song about Flex for some time now, but in a Flashkit thread this week I found myself writing the following in a thread about the code profiler in Flex Pro.

"Flex Pro and I were in love, holding hands, having picnics in the park, scheduling secret coding rendezvous, stealing awkward glances so Flash CS3 wouldn't notice. I even got her to watch the Lakers, Galaxy, and Fulham...then my 30 day trial was up, she left me. I just couldn't afford the lifestyle she was accustomed to. Her mom didn't like the looks of me, and her dad said that I would never amount to anything.

It's sad, really. But, I found a new little lady, she wears 8-hole Doc Martins, cute thrift store sun dresses, and gives me all of the code completion I could ever want. Her name is Flash Develop. We don't have a code profiler, but we are very very happy together. We wrote our own little profiler ourselves, he keeps me up at night, be we love him. I'm a little concerned that our little profiler looks a bit too much like Squize's, but I'm not jealous in any way..."

That seemed to silence the thread as no one knew what to say after the insane ramblings of a mad man - actually the the thread starter did reply with "Jeff you are a god amongst men, a god". So, I take some solace in the fact that it was at least partially appreciated.

Anyway, on to the point of this post: Last last night, with the very limited music resources available to me in my hotel room, I decided to finally make that song. But, I decided to continue my story about Flash Develop rather than Flex. I did it in 2 hours with no really edits or re-cuts. I wrote all of the lyrics on the fly and processed all of it with Magix Music Maker 12. I used their latest Sound Pool 15 for the bulk of the loops and the included Microsoft Sam text to speech synth for the vocals. That was all I had at my disposal, so I made due.

The levels in the song are exported pretty high with no compression, so I had to export it from Flash in the highest mp3 settings for it to sound any good. Here is the .swf with lyrics on the time line because they are sometimes difficult to make out.

The .mp3 file is also included for all of those itching to listen to it on their ipods =)


It takes longer to load than I would like...

Compile Me Baby Mp3

 

4Feb/090

Three iPhone Game Video Previews

You know, to be honest, we never planned to review iPhone games on this site. However, someone asked us first, we decided "OK, why not?", and since then we have been inundated with requests to review iPhone games.

At first, people sent us links so we could download and play the games directly on an Apple device. This is the best method, as it allows us to actually play the game, and formulate a real review. However, the latest trend is for people to send us links to videos of the game being played. Umm, O. K., I'm game I suppose. Here are the latest three videos that have been randomly sent to us out of the blue:

Wave Wars Lite

From what I can tell, this looks like a scaled 2D/pseudo 3D space shooter controlled with touch controls. Yes, that is right, I am super intuitive. It looks fairly enjoyable, but this is one that needs to played. Luckily, the company also sent over a link to an iPhone download, so there might be a review coming next week.

 

The Cave

The developer's blog says that this game about the game: "In The Cave you play inside a semi-transparent asteroid so you see through it the infinite space." I say, "huh?" After looking at the video though, it seems to be quite an interesting game. If appears to be a full in 3D (at least with rotation and scaling), and it seems that you smash asteroids into each other or something. I've been thinking about about this one for a bit of time here, and I believe this one could be quite good. If it utilizes both touch and the accelerometer it could prove to be a very intriguing action puzzler.

Buster Boy

Yotta Digital sent over this video today of their game Buster Boy:

This is quite cool looking, touch sensitive "bubble shooter". The scaled 2D visuals are really nice, and game play looks very interesting. Out of the three games previewed here, this is the one that I would most likely buy first. Of course, it is also the the most accessible and the one furthest along in the dev cycle as it has a planned release date of Feb '09 (this month).

Filed under: Apple No Comments
4Feb/090

It keeps staring at me, but I had no choice…

Until now that is.
It bugs me that the last post on the blog for 3 days was about music. Don't get me wrong, because the Gaslight Anthem rocks, but they really have nothing to do with game development.  I am stuck in a hotel while my kitchen is being repaired from a minor disaster, and finding time to code or blog about code, or even read Flashkit has become a rare commodity. Couple that with a day job that is getting so OUT OF HAND with work stream meetings, committees, and TPS reports that there is no time to work with the dev team on even the smallest of projects.  To top it off, I only have my wife's Mac Book and I have to boot all the way into Boot Camp xp to do any Flash Develop even if I had the time to get to it.

So, I have stolen away a few minutes, in the dark, with my wife and two boys sleeping near by (so I have to be quiet) in an attempt to actually write something about Flash, game development, or what not.

So, I have decided to do a little research and find out what the first site is that pops up when I Google some Flash and game related terms - no rocket science, but an interesting diversion because the TV channels in this hotel are atrocious.

Term - "Flash Game" brings up www.flashgames247.com - This is a pretty decent looking portal that reminds me of Addictinggames (maybe a little too much).

Term - "Flash Game Programming" brings up www.flashgameu.com - This is very cool because Gary has written at least 3 great books and even braved one on AS3 games when no one else even made an attempt. Any budding AS3 game developer should run out and buy his book if you have not already done so.

Term - "Flash Game Development" brings up www.gotoandplay.it - That is very very interesting, I would have figured it would be Flashkit. By the way, I am ignoring the paid search links, or Leftbraingames.com would have been the winner.

Term - "Flash Game Design" brings up flash-game-design.com - Boy do I feel stupid.  I have never even been to this great site. I will have to add it ot my Mash-ups. Oh, by the way, that is the whole reason I started to to this search in the first place - to find new sites for my Flash Game Interweb Mash-up

Now I decided to do the same 4 terms in the Google Blog Search

Term - "Flash Game". Now, this is a strange one because Google tries to be smart and bring up the "related" blogs first. The top site in "related blogs" is Miniclip, but NOT their blog (if they have one) - odd. The First real blog is a link the The Divine Generals Flash game.

Term - "Flash Game Programming" brings us a blog by Ari braginsky.  The linked blog is about iPhone games, but his blog does have some AS3 game entries, so this one might be one to come back to.

Term - "Flash Game Development" - Hmm, the first "related" link is www.Flashgameu.com (cool), but the first real blog link is nothing more than a community posting for a job in Long Beach (close to my house though, hmm),

Term - "Flash Game Design" - Brings me to a www.dynamikdesign.com and a post about making a drag and drop game in AS3.

So, what did we learn here? Not much. I found a few more sites to check out for my mash-ups, and I kind of learned that Google's search on certain subjects might be a little off and maybe confusing to newbies on a subject.

Anyway, the Adventure chapter in Racing the Beam is calling, so until next time...

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