8bitrocket.com
31May/090

Press Space To Win Is Pretty Awesome

Press Space To Win is pretty awesome

I was trolling message boards and portals this morning because of my inherent need to procrastinate rather than work on the three games I have going at once. On the Mochi boards I found a link to a  YouTube video of this game and decided to check it out on New Grounds.

Press Space To Win is a tongue in cheek retro flash "game" where the objective is to finish the adventure and save the Kingdom from Peril. The 8-bit visuals are well done and the music is incredible throughout the game (Midi and Samples, not chip tunes).

pstw.jpg

Most of the game is played by simply hitting the Space Bar. At its core is a nicely put together Flash animation that makes fun of both the current trend of "dumbifying" Flash games down to a single button press, and the ludicrous nature of most RPG quest games. But thrown into the mix, there are several Dragon's Lair type sequences where you must press the space bar at the right time to move on. 

Honestly though, I can't tell if any of these interactions actually do much in the game, but it was interesting to see where the author wanted to take the player. It certainly is worth a look at least for the creativity, patience and attention to detail that Rhete (New Grounds user) put in.  Game play-wise it is lacking, but that's the point, isn't it? Nice work!

Filed under: Game Reviews No Comments
30May/090

Classic Electronic Games Magazine Issue #1 Online Now!

Classic Electronic Games Magazine Issue #1 Online Now!

clip_image001_0000.jpg

This is the one that started it all! All modern and classic video game magazines  would probably not have been the same without this incredible magazine. The hard workers at RetroMags.com have scanned each page into a JPG. Then they compiled the whole lot into a CBR (comic book reader) file. 

Get the Comical CBR reader.

Filed under: Atari Nerd No Comments
29May/090

Issue #1 of Classic Video Gamer Magazine Available Now!

Issue #1 of Classic Video Gamer Magazine Available Now!

cvgm.gif

A new Downloadable and Print Magazine covering the world of Retro Games has been released. Hoping to become the American version of the famed UK Retro Gamer Publication (I just got the issue with Game Boy on the cover and an Archer Mclean interview), it looks very impressive so far.

Classic Video Gamer Magazine #1 contains a lot of Atari coverage (2600, 7800, Jaguar and more), plus some Amiga games,  an Alien Hominid review,  King of Fighters coverage, classic advertisements, World of Illusion for the Genesis, reviews of batari Basic games and much much more.

A downloadable copy of issue #1 can be had for $1.95 (PDF format). A printed copy in full color on quality paper can be pre-ordered for $6.50. They need 50 orders before they can afford to print and ship (for free to the USA), so make your order now (I have).

Filed under: Atari Nerd No Comments
29May/090

Flash indie game development interweb-mash-up : May 29, 2009

Flash indie game development interweb-mash-up : May 29, 2009

The more often I write these, the shorter they become, but the longer
it takes me to dig up new and interesting stuff. This week I had to
cast a net a little wider than usual.  I did find a little
time to
play more Flash games by other people this week, so let's start there:

Let's
Start By
Highlighting A New Releases that caught my eye...

- href="http://www.ufogamer.com/games/aliens/slimeys-lunch-time-156.html"
target="_blank">Smiley's Lunch Time
is pure genius.
- href="http://www.kongregate.com/games/LongAnimals/heavy-weapons?gamereferral=heavyweapons"
target="_blank">Long Animals' Heavy Weapon
- One
sweet shooter!
- href="http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/497119"
target="_blank">MegaDev's Block Squad should
make
a killing! Quality Everywhere!
- Have a little retro Centipede fun with href="http://www.flashbynight.com/nanopedes/" target="_blank">Flashbynite's
Nanopedes
- Tony Pa is the href="http://www.tonypa.pri.ee/nosobow.html" target="_blank">new
master of all things puzzle games!
- href="http://mochiads.com/contest/jan09/games/death-vs-monstars"
target="_blank">Death v Monsters won a contest
(and my heart). Blast everything. style="font-weight: bold;">
style="font-weight: bold;">
PhotonStorm
Rich has been busy thinking up ways href="http://www.photonstorm.com/archives/453/chameleons-cupcakes-sharks-oh-my"
target="_blank">to remake MSX and ST games.
He has
had quite a bit of success with this so far, so I'm pretty sure his
next set of games will be very good indeed.  Rich also has
some href="http://www.photonstorm.com/archives/444/announcing-turbo-stripe-software"
target="_blank">inspiring art work
from his 8-bit
MSX days when he used to sit around designing games and magazines
(instead of do his Math homework?).   There is some really
cool stuff in there. Rich, when EVERYONE here had an Apple or C64, we
have Atari 800s and STs. We know EXACTLY how you felt as an MSX kid in
a BBC/Speccy/C64 world.


Emanuele
Feronato

- As always, our Italian geek genius has added mucho content for all
your game dev needs. A couple of my favorites: In our 8-bit theme, he
has posted a href="http://www.emanueleferonato.com/2009/05/27/hiroads-developer-diary/"
target="_blank">Postmortem by Filippo Bodei
on his
C64 remake - Hi Roads (pronounced Trailblazer when it was an Atari
8-bit and C64 game). A tutorial on the v href="http://www.emanueleferonato.com/2009/05/08/papervision3d-for-the-absolute-beginners/"
target="_blank">ery basics of Papervision 3d.
You
should be reading his site every day (and many of you already are).

Michael
James Williams

MJW has been adding a lot of cool new blog entries lately: href="http://gamedev.michaeljameswilliams.com/2009/05/28/move-with-the-mouse-aim-with-the-keyboard/"
target="_blank">Move With Mouse, Aim with Keyboard
is a nice tutorial with all the AS3 you will ever need. Michael, if you
are reading this, can I borrow the style sheet CSS you are using for
your code examples? It is the best I have seen! MJW also discusses href="http://gamedev.michaeljameswilliams.com/2009/05/24/six-great-free-flash-extensions/"
target="_blank">some nice extensions for the Flash IDE
- Frame to Symbol and Queasy Tools are two very nice tools.


Freelance
Flash Games

The href="http://freelanceflashgames.com/news/2009/05/22/a-freelancers-flash-bash-2/"
target="_blank">Freelance Flash Bash
looks
familiar and I like it!  Freelance also has a short discussion
href="http://freelanceflashgames.com/news/2009/05/27/why-your-game-should-have-a-level-editor/"
target="_blank">on why your game needs a level editor,
 
href="http://freelanceflashgames.com/news/2009/05/25/5-ways-to-more-clickthroughs-on-game-banners/"
target="_blank">tips on getting more clicks on your
More Games Banners, as
well as href="http://freelanceflashgames.com/news/2009/05/21/5-ways-to-put-a-more-games-banner-into-your-game/"
target="_blank">5 ways to put a More Games banner in
your games.


Vortex
Games

- Very href="http://blog.vortixgames.com/model-view-controller"
target="_blank">nice and simple MVC for games
implementation.
- Atomik Kaos Mechanic href="http://blog.vortixgames.com/atomik-kaos-mechanic-post-mortem"
target="_blank">Postmortum.
Also, why not try this href="http://armorgames.com/play/3297/atomik-kaos-2-orbits"
target="_blank">uniquely addictive game.

8bitrocket
Towers

- I am href="/newsdisplay.aspx?newspage=28308"
target="_blank">still planning to make some custom
free sounds (last weekend I got
side tracked). If you have a need, I might have an answer.
- I have href="/newsdisplay.aspx?newspage=28523"
target="_blank">geeked out on American 8-bit computer
games again. I feel so dirty.
- My href="/newsdisplay.aspx?newspage=28566"
target="_blank">version of Star Castle
is coming along slowly. It's time for some levels and Minter-like
ZarJaz.
- Steve went off on href="/newsdisplay.aspx?newspage=28265"
target="_blank">Video Ads and Writer's Block.

Quick
ways to skin that
cat:

- Lawrie Cape's sweet href="http://www.lawriecape.co.uk/theblog/?p=239">visualization
tool experiment
- Icky Dime has a nice href="http://blog.ickydime.com/2009/05/japanese-flash-experts-stepping-into.html"
target="_blank">entry on Japanese Flash gurus.
- href="http://blog.iainlobb.com/2009/05/62-of-developers-are-using-flashdevelop.html"
target="_blank">Vote for you favorite Flash IDE
on
Iian Lobb's Blog. I did, so now Flash Develop if up to 67%!
- You want to make a Flash Game? href="http://www.lorenzgames.com/blog/how-to-start-to-make-flash-games"
target="_blank">Lorenz will show you how.
Then you
can submit it back to his site.
- Come2Play href="/newsdisplay.aspx?newspage=28609"
target="_blank">has a cool new non-contest, contest.
- Check the href="http://mochiland.com/articles/top-of-the-world-contest-winners"
target="_blank">other 3 deserving winners of the
Mochi Top of the World Contest.
(Death v. Monsters was the big winner - see above).
- Drawlogics href="http://drawlogic.com/2009/05/22/as3-flash-efficient-code-techniques-vectors-in-flash-10-faster-jpeg-encoding-other-optimization-notes/"
target="_blank">Flash 10 AS3 Drawing Optimizations
- Spinxwebdesign href="http://blog.spinxwebdesign.com/article/points-of-consideration-for-flash-game-development/"
target="_blank">on considerations for making a
successful Flash game.
- Thinking of making a Pacman style game: href="http://home.comcast.net/%7Ejpittman2/pacman/pacmandossier.html"
target="_blank">The Pacman Dossier
is all the reference you will need!

Off Topic: The best thing I can say about this href="http://www.nightatthemuseummovie.com/">movie,
is well, href="http://blogs.current.com/movies/2009/05/19/amy-adams-has-a-great-ass-in-night-at-the-museum-battle-of-the-smithsonian/"
target="_blank">this. 

As always check out  href="http://www.flashgameblogs.com" target="_blank">www.flashgameblogs.com
for your daily dose...

27May/090

ComeToPlay's non-contest Flash Game Contest

ComeToPlay's non-contest Flash Game Contest

Come2Play Logo.png

I don't shill for everyone that writes in asking up to promote their product, contest, game, or site. I usually sift through the requests and add the best ones to a Mash-up. Come2play emailed us yesterday about a pretty cool contest (really a revenue opportunity) that you guys might be interested in participating in. Come2play has a multiplayer API that you can use in your games for free and to promote it, they have created a pretty generous non contest - contest. They also have distribution across 300 partner sites (including iGoogle, Facebook, Net-Games, etc).

Here are the basics in their words:

On the API
"Come2Play's open source API allows developers to create multiplayer games without having to worry about servers, hosting, ranking, chat, game lobbies, leaderboards, tokens and virtual rewards, all of which are built into the Come2Play network."

On The Contest
"To promote the capabilities of their multiplayer API, Come2Play is announcing their Non-Contest, Contest for game developers. The non-contest is simply a bonus payment based on the number of game matches recorded in a three month period after the developer's game has been launched. Come2Play will pay developers $5,000 for the first 2 million matches played in the first three months. Bonuses increase by 5 thousand dollars for every 2 million matches. So, 4 million matches = $10,000 prize, 6 million matches = $15,000 prize and so forth."

You are also able to sell sponsorships and keep all in-game ad revenue from games entered into the "non-contest". If you are interested, check out the developer section of their site.

25May/090

The History of 8-bit Computer Games in The USA #1 : CGW Nov/Dec 1981

The History of 8-bit Computer Games in The USA #1 : CGW Nov/Dec 1981

I
never read Computer Gaming World Magazine
when I should have. When I
finally purchased a PC in 1992, I started to read it and kept doing so
as a subscriber until it died late last year.  Steve and I had
an
Atari 800 in 1983 and read Atari specific Antic
and Analog (as well
as Atari Explorer), Computer Fun, and Electronic Games magazines but
never had access to CGW during the prime 8-bit years. We did find it on
a rare news stand now and then, but never purchased it because it
always seemed to ignore Atari computers. Now that I have had a chance
to read many of the early issues through the incredible
on line archive
, I
have a much better appreciation for the magazine and what it covered.
 It pretty much had its finger on the real pulse of 8-bit (and
later 16-bit) hobbyist gaming. Because of this, it can be used as a
tool to examine the history of 8-bit computer games in the USA as an
unbiased, non-fan boy source.

Some (many) will ask why I even bother doing this. I think the story of
8-bit computer game platforms in the USA is much more nuanced than most
would believe. To those that were not part of this era or were not
paying attention, it would seem that the Apple IIe gave way to the C64
and then to DOS machines and no other machines existed.   This
is a story that has not been explored in detail before, and with the
resources available on the Internet, I plan to give it the nuanced
justice it deserves. In future installments I will probably explore
various other multiformat publications such as Compute and Hi-Res in
conjunction with the CGW issues during the same time period.

Over the next few parts of this
series I will be examining each issue of the magazine, from game ads,
reviews, magazine polls, features, and everything in between to paint a
clear picture of 80's computer games in the USA and how platforms
progressed through major eras:
1. Apple/Pet/TRS 80 in the very early years
2. Atari 800/Apple dominated era
3. The C64/IBM complete dominance of the mid 80s
4. The middling 16-bit Amiga/ST era
5. The late PC dominance

Issue
1, Nov/Dec 1981

Games Lists By System
Note:
for this issue, if a game is listed but no specific system was listed,
I
assumed Apple II was the platform. It so dominated this era that most
people just assumed you were talking about the Apple and no system
designation was needed.  Even if I know that a game would
later be
released for a certain system, I will  not list it under than
system until CGW actually signifies that it has been released or
announced.


Apple Games (in order of
first appearance)

1. Battle of Shiloh (SSI) From full color ad.
2. Tigers in the Show (SSI) From full color ad.
3. Sorcerer of Shiva (Automated Simulations) - from Hobby and Industry
News
4. Jabbertalky (Automated Simulations) - from Hobby and Industry News
5. Computer Quarterback (SSI) - from Hobby and Industry News
6. Computer Baseball (SSI) - from Hobby and Industry News
7. Alkemstone (Level 10) - from Hobby and Industry News
8. Escape From Arturus (Synergistic Software) - from Hobby and Industry
News
9. The Green Plague(CE Software) - from Hobby and Industry News
10. Southern Command (SSI) - from Hobby and Industry News
11. Napoleon's Campaigns 1813 and 1815 (SSI) - from Hobby and Industry
News
12.  Computer Football Strategy (Avalon Hill) - from Hobby and
Industry News
13. Draw Poker (Avalon Hill) - from Hobby and Industry News
14. Guns of Fort Defiance (Avalon Hill) - from Hobby and Industry News
15. Dneiper River Line (Avalon Hill) - from Hobby and Industry News
16. Warp Factor (SSI) - from Hobby and Industry News
17. Castle Wolfenstien (Muse) - Full Page B/W ad.
18. Torpedo Fire (SSI) - Review and Analysis by Bob Proctor
19. Robot War (Muse) - From Robot War, A War game for all Programmers
by William Edmunds
20. Sword Thrust (CE Software) - From 1/2 page B/W ad
21. Mission Escape - (CE Software) - From 1/2 page B/W ad
22. Wall Street - (CE Software) - From 1/2 page B/W ad
23. B1 Nuclear Bomber (Avalon Hill) - From B1 Nuclear Bomber, A
Strategic Map by Chris Cummings
24. Crush Crumble and Chomp (Automated Simulations) - From Review by
Stanley Greenlaw
25. President Elect (SSI ) - From The Political Apple by Russell Sipe
26. Gorgon (Sirius) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games Mail Order
Ad.
27. Raster Blaster (Budgeco) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games
Mail Order Ad.
28. Alien Typhoon (Broderbund) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games
Mail Order Ad.
29. Ultima (California pacific) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games
Mail Order Ad.
30. Space Eggs (Sirius) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games Mail
Order Ad.
31. Apple Panic (Broderbund) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games
Mail Order Ad.
32. Epoch (Sirius) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games Mail Order
Ad.
33. ABM (Muse) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games Mail Order Ad.
34. Wizard and the Princess (OnLine)  - From Gold Disk Quality
Software Games Mail Order Ad.
35. Pool 1.5 (IDS) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games Mail Order
Ad.
36. Phantoms 5 (Sirius) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games Mail
Order Ad.
37. Three Mile Island (Muse) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games
Mail Order Ad.
38. Snoggle (Broderbund) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games Mail
Order Ad.
39. Pulsar II (Sirius) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games Mail
Order Ad.
40. Twala's Last Redoubt (Broderbund) - From Gold Disk Quality Software
Games Mail Order Ad.
41. Galaxy Wars (Broderbund) - From Gold Disk Quality Software Games
Mail Order Ad.
42. Odyssey (Synergistic Software) - Full page Ad
43. Dragon's Eye (Automated Simulations) - From Micro Review by Daniel
Hockman
44. Reversal (Hayden) - From Micro Review by Bob Boyd
45. Time Traveler (Not Listed) - From Micro Review by Terry Romine
46. Techyon (Imagination Software) - From full page ad
47. Savage Island (Adventure International) - From Initial Comments
Section
48. Golden Voyage (Adventure International) - From Initial Comments
Section
49. Planentoids (Adventure International) - From Initial Comments
Section
50. Empire of the Overmind (Avalon Hill) - From Initial Comments Section
51. Tanktics(Avalon Hill) - From Initial Comments Section
52. Swordthrust 1 (CE Software) - From Initial Comments Section
53. Swordthrust 2 (CE Software) - From Initial Comments Section
54. Swordthrust 3 (CE Software) - From Initial Comments Section
55. Swordthrust 4 (CE Software) - From Initial Comments Section
56. Swordthrust 5 (CE Software) - From Initial Comments Section
57. Autocheckers (Programma/Hayden) - From Initial Comments
Section
58. Clowns and Balloons (Programma/Hayden) - From Initial Comments
Section
59. Guided Missiles (Programma/Hayden) - From Initial Comments
Section
60. Cartels and Cutthroats (SSI) - From Initial Comments Section
62. Stocks and Bonds (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
63. Midway Campaign (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
64. Conflict 2500 (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
65. Lords of Karma (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
66. Computer Acquire (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
67. Nukewar (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
68. Planet Miners (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
69. North Atlantic Convoy Raider (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad

TRS 80 Games (in order
of first appearance)

1. Battle of Shiloh (SSI) From full color ad.
2. Tigers in the Show (SSI) From full color ad.
3. Sorcerer of Shiva (Automated Simulations) - from Hobby and Industry
News
4. Jabbertalky (Automated Simulations) - from Hobby and Industry News
5. Crush Crumble and Chomp (Automated Simulations) - From Review by
Stanley Greenlaw
6. Mind Thrust (Not Listed) - From Micro Review by Babour Stokes
7. Savage Island (Adventure International) - From Initial Comments
Section
8. Golden Voyage (Adventure International) - From Initial Comments
Section
9. Planentoids (Adventure International) - From Initial Comments Section
10. Empire of the Overmind (Avalon Hill) - From Initial Comments Section
11. Tanktics(Avalon Hill) - From Initial Comments Section
12. Batter Up! (Hayden) - From Initial Comments Section
13. Backgammon (Hayden) - From Initial Comments Section
14. Gridiron (Hayden) - From Initial Comments Section
15. Royal Flush (Hayden) - From Initial Comments Section
16. Computer Baseball (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
17. Stocks and Bonds (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
18. Midway Campaign (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
19. Conflict 2500 (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
20. Lords of Karma (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
21. Computer Acquire (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
22. Nukewar (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
23. B1 Nuclear Bomber (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
24. Planet Miners (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
25. North Atlantic Convoy Raider (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad

Commodore PET games (in
order of first appearance)

1. Dragon's Eye (Automated Simulations) - From Micro Review by Daniel
Hockman
2. Time Traveler (Not Listed) - From Micro Review by Terry Romine
3. Empire of the Overmind (Avalon Hill) - From Initial Comments Section
4. Tanktics(Avalon Hill) - From Initial Comments Section
5. Royal Flush (Hayden) - From Initial Comments Section
6. Stocks and Bonds (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
7. Midway Campaign (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
8. Conflict 2500 (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
9. Lords of Karma (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
10. Computer Acquire (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
11. Nukewar (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
12. B1 Nuclear Bomber (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
13. Planet Miners (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
14. North Atlantic Convoy Raider (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad

Atari 8bit games (in
order of first appearance)

1. Eastern Front (APX, Chris Crawford) - from The Future of Computer
War Gaming by Chris Crawford
2. Empire of the Overmind (Avalon Hill) - From Initial Comments Section
3. Tanktics(Avalon Hill) - From Initial Comments Section
4. Stocks and Bonds (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
5. Midway Campaign (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
6. Conflict 2500 (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
7. Lords of Karma (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
8. Nukewar (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
9. B1 Nuclear Bomber (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
10. Planet Miners (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad
11. North Atlantic Convoy Raider (Avalon Hill) - From Full Page Ad

State of the Industry Notes from Various articles:
1. In The Future of Computer War Gaming by Chris Crawford.
When discussing what will be the dominant machine he says: 
"Which
machines will dominate the computer war game industry? The PET and
TRS-80 are out of the running. The Apple II dominates the market at
present. However, the greater power of the Atari and its rapidly
growing user base indicate that it will challenge and probably pass the
Apple within a year or two.

Analysis:

Obviously, this being
issue #1, it could not cover every game for every system, but it does
give a good state of the game play arena at the time. I know of many
more Atari 8-bit and TRS 80 games (as well as Apple and PET games)
 that
were available in late 1981, but the point is to show the relative
market share difference from issue to issue. Also, from an editorial
perspective, mostly war and simulation games were covered this issue.
That has a lot more to do with the nature of the magazine contributors
than the games available at this time. If I look at other magazines in
this early era I will find many more arcade games listed for the Atari
systems, especially Star Raiders, Asteroids, and Missile Command. The
point is to see what was covered by the only mainstream press available
at the time with a sole focus on 8-bit computer (not video) games. I am
sure that as the ads pick up in later issues, a multitude of game
titles across many genres will be represented. The Commodore Key and
Atari Arcade features that crop up in later issues start to cover these
games specifically.  

Clearly, the Apple II
platform is dominant, with TRS 80 a distant second, and PET just
beating out the Atari 8-bits for a far distant 3rd place.
 Since I am
an Atari 8-bit fan, it is interesting to note that the Avalon Hill
games
(mostly written in Basic) dominated the CGW coverage. This was mostly
because that is the company who saw fit to advertise in this issue. It
could also be that Atari had just recently released the documentation
necessary for 3rd party software houses to create games using its
advanced hardware.  It
will be interesting to see how the advertising and editorials evolve
over time.

In the next and further installments we will start
adding in games that have not been listed yet then will combine them
into one large ongoing unique count for each machine. I'm, not exactly
sure how I will manage the every growing lists of games a time goes on
in this series. I think I will need to start and alphabetical list for
each system.

Filed under: Atari Nerd No Comments
24May/090

Programming By Google? A Quick Poll

This week I worked on a project with some "new" CSS/HTML and AS3 concepts that I had never used together in any prior project.

I was fairly successful by the end of the week, and most of the time I "programmed by Google": When I got stuck I searched for the concept I needed help with, and had an answer fairly quickly.

Now, I did not search Google for the entire project, just small pieces that helped me get by small road-blocks.  I must have done this 30 times.

So, my question is this:  Do you do the same?   If we write more tutorials. should be bite-sized on small concepts that help while YOU "program by Google"?

Thanks for the help.

-Steve

19May/090

Flash indie game interweb-mash-up : May 19, 2009

Flash indie game interweb-mash-up : May 19, 2009

It's been quite a few days  since I last mashed-up the
infobaun looking for Flash game development related blogs, scribbles,
games, articles, and assorted thing-a-ma-whose-its to entertain myself,
and hopefully others, but mainly me. There was a whole lot of shaking
going on under the earth here yesterday as a 5.0 earth quaking temblor was basically centered
under our house and we continue to feel little ones constantly as after
shocks. That's why it costs so must to live here I guess. It's like
buying an E-Ticket perpetual life time pass.
  Also, I tried to make this a BIG ONE mash-up (possibly to
scare off the big one earthquake). Karma's a bitch sometimes. Yeah, I'm
talking to you, Mr. Newport to Inglewood Fault!

GamingYourWay.com
Not a HUGE number of updates from our good friends over at
gamingyourway, but quality none the less. They have begun to finally
showcase and host some of their own classic and award winning Flash
Games: Check out Chimbo's Quest, a unique take on
Donkey Kong and Frogger (sort of).  Also, the latest
build of X++
is very impressive to say the least.
 Squize also pointed me in the direction of this incredible Flash
Debugging tool
. (also pointed out by Helmsman on Flashkit
along with a tutorial video by Lee
Brimlow
)

PhotonStorm
Rich continues to update the impressive sales and marketing campaign
for his wonderful Kyobi.   Look for an interview with Rich on
this game and his retro gaming roots soon to appear
on this site.

IckyDime
Mark G has been very busy updating his blog lately. His own Mash up from a few weeks
back was excellent.  His postmortem on trying to implement a
CMS driven site in Flash Player 9 (using HTML and CSS for text)
is a must read for those who are about to embark on such a nightmare
journey.  Also, his employer, The Basement, has been given ink as being a big time
quality player
. If you are looking for a full service agency,
you can do much worse. They even do broadcast commercials.


The Lawrie Cape Blog
Lewrie's blog is new to this mash-up, but has a lot to offer - lots of
free code and nice unique tutorials: Eraser Text Effect, The Amazing Map Function - based
on Joel Gillman's Map Function, Lawrie demonstrates how to make good
use of the magic.  He also has a retrospective on his popular Super
Letter Game
and has some nice code examples for you to take a
look at.


Freelance Flash Games
Wow does he update this site often! The latest is a interesting interview with Andy Moore.
Calling himself, a "Social Engineer", Andy's job is to manage the
community for the awesome Fantastic Contraption game. (Kevin Mitnik was
a social engineer too...).
 If you don't have a web site dedicated to your own games (or
even if you do), his 5 reasons to have one will
either encourage you to do so, or prompt you to pat yourself on the
back and have a cold one (either way, you win). He also has a nice
piece on concentrating your game development time
in the right place
, plus lots more.

The Italian Geek (self
proclaimed. I think he is a pretty cool dude, but you didn't ask)

What can I say, but Emanuele always is on top of his game. Here is a
summary of just some of his latest:
-
How Box2d handles boundaries

- Understanding the Papervision Plane Object
- Papervision 3D for Absolute Beginners
(me)
- Where to start when making a new game


Freeactionscript.com
This is a great site. It hasn't been updated in a while, but it
contains a wealth of great code examples. I used this one last week.  Take
a look and if you use his magic, be sure to thank him.

GamePoetry/Urbansquall
Urbansquall has a couple new treats to excite the knowledge taste buds
in your Flash palate (note: metaphors taken too far with no real place
to go): Effective Problem Solving through Showering
(which is much more serious than it sounds) and Best Practices with Version Control
(very well thought out).

Michael James Williams
Michael covers some thought provoking ground with advice to forum newbies on how to ask
questions
. He also has a tutorial on adding the Kongregate API to your games,
as well as some hints on applying the Pythagorean theorem to find the distance
between two points
.

Here at 8bitrocket Towers
- I found a strange
list of the top 10 selling consumer items
and Gamestorm them
to death.
- Wiiware will support Flash Games Soon
- out come the Haters and ill-informed.
- Attack
of the Killer Mutant Bingo Wars added to our arcade showcase

- Cat penis or not, I
blog about my stalled game
...
- I added a tutorial on damage mapping (just
updating the pixels that have changed on a blit canvas)
- These guys (here
and here)
have been using our music or code, but gave us credit...

Rabbit Punches:
- Lee Brimlow's Entry on Flex Builder being renamed Flash Builder;
 
- 8birocket collaborator, Ace the Super Villain, has created his GameStorm-like game idea builder: Ace Game Storm - Clever it is!
-
Flashgamedistribution.com
is not longer in Beta. Use them,
they are good.
- A new portal, run by some very nice chaps, has launched: Willinggames.com
- AS Gamer's How
To Make Death v. Monster's Style Explosions

- Iain Lobb compares and contrasts extension v.
composition for Sprites and other display objects
.
- FGF winner, Cargo Bridge is a HELL of a lot of
fun to play.
- Play LongAnimals Drift Runners NOW. I
need to start adding more of Julian's games to our arcade.  He
was an ST/AMIGA genius back in the good times.
- Pencil Farm's Plant Pong is retrotastic with a
heavy does of modern genius.

As always check out  www.flashgameblogs.com
for your daily dose...

17May/090

How can Casual game designers use the list of top selling comsumer items?

How can Casual game designers use this list?

In the Sunday newspaper (yes, I still get one of these ancient documents) this morning there was a list of the top 10 selling consumer products (in the USA I presume). I'm not quite sure how accurate the list is, or how it was compiled, but it makes for some interesting discussions.

Here is the list (in no particular order).

1. Chocolate
2. Cheap Wine
3. Gold Coins
4. Gardening Seeds
5. Spam (food), canned stew, and Chili
6. Macaroni and Cheese
7. Condoms
8. Match.com sign ups
9. Laxatives
10. Guns (Must be the USA).

Aside from recognizing the obvious need for laxatives with all of the Mac n Cheese, spam, stew, and chili consumption; and condoms, cheap wine, and chocolate for all of the Match.com rendezvous, can a casual game designer make use of this list in any way?

I assume the age old (1986 on) need for collecting coins as introduced in Super Mario Bros might point to a re-interest in platform games, but what I really mean is what does this list represent as a whole? I think it represents the need for people to cocoon up and feel safe. The guns, gold,  and canned food especially play into common foreign perceptions of America being filled with survivalist nuts cases.  Be that the reality or not, how can a game designer exploit the common mans' need to feel safe at home with his guns, comfort food, condoms, laxatives, and internet stalking?

I am sure that the traditional puzzle games (Match 3, etc) will definitely NOT be adversely affected by this situation as the number of consumers (20 - 60 year old women and some men) of those games has only grown in numbers in the last year. But, what kind of game will appeal to the men who now find themselves with ample free time, cheap wine, ammo, canned comfort food (an obviously a lot of toilet time)?  Match 3 canned foods or 3 Smith and Wesson products are too obvious to even discuss - just go make them.

I don't think sophisticated RPG, puzzle, or strategy games will appeal to this crowd, so the casual game designer will probably want to focus on shooting games and maybe even canned food cooking games...

AHA...
Some Game Design Ideas:
1. Cooking Stalker - Fill out a Match.com style profile about food likes and dislikes and have a list matching canned food items be sent via fake HUD GUI email system to player. Player chooses food to "date" and then gets to shoot these cans of food with a first person style shooting gallery. Stage 3 is a cooking mama style contest where the skills needed to heat up and prepare canned food are tested to their extreme.

2. Gold Coin Protector - Protect the homestead and pile of collected gold coins by firing your guns a advancing gold stealing government zombies who are intent on taking all they can get to pay for government bank bailouts, and Council On Foreign Relations black ops. Shoot cans of thrown comfort foods to gain grenades and other power ups.

3. Organic Garden Tower Defense - A Tower Defense game where the player must protect his "Organic Garden" from hoards of advancing government officials, intent on eminent domaining his ass back to the 19th century. Out of real ammo from shooting cans in Cooking Stalker, the player must protect his homestead with A-Team style guns that fire canned food. Place laxative filled chocolates in the path of the BLM and DEA agents and they will stop eat, and run the the opposite direction in search of the outhouse - an outhouse that has been booby trapped with exploding cans of spam and bottles of cheap wine.

Those are the first 3 lame ideas that came off the top of my head, and I didn't even touch the Hente style games that can make use of some of the other items on the list.

Note: Just to clarify: Most Americans don't homestead up in fear of the government stealing their GOLD. They don't DATE their food and don't eat what they date. But, some do love to shoot crap, have sexual relations (in the garden), collect gold coins, and eat bad canned food. Not that there is anything wrong with that...

15May/090

Wiiware Support For Flash Met With Fear, Derision:Analysis

Reports came out this week that Nintendo would start supporting Flash as a development platform for Wiiware. While there was some positive support, for the most part, this news was met with derision, fear and hand-wringing from the Wii gaming communities.

 

At Cubed3:

"Nintendo does have strong policies and quality control with WiiWare, so expect many of the rubbish Flash-based proposals to receive a big no-no. "

..and then some responses from their users :

Against:

"Nintendo shouldn't allow Flash games in WiiWare, it's a waste of time and money. I hope consumers realize that."

"There are very few flash games that I have actually thought should be in stores"

In Support:

"That's great news."

At WiisWorld:

"No doubt this makes WiiWare a viable option to a whole host of new developers, but the worry is that a slew of shovelware could follow?"

..and then some responses from their users :

Against:

"Man, there are going to be so many crappy games on there now"

In Support:

"This is amazing news. There are games on Newgrounds that are at least 10x better than all of the wiiware games combined together (no joke). "

At NintendoLife:

"for every decent Flash game there are about 10 less desirable ones, so hopefully this won't signal a drop in quality on WiiWare"

..and then some responses from their users :

Against:

"This sounds more worrying than exciting."

"I think Flash belongs to the Internet Browser and nowhere else"

"I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not."

"Sound crap-tastic."

"Bring on the countless tower defence clones.."

In Support:

"More games is good news"

At WiiNintendo:

"I wonder how much the quality of WiiWare games will change once Flash becomes widespread with WiiWare developers"

 

So why the consternation (for the most part) from Wii Blogs and their fans?

Some of it might have to do with Nintendo itself. Nintendo is still seen as the premiere game design company in the world. You might not look to Nintendo for the latest and greatest FPS technology, but you certainly would expect great new game designs and innovations from them. Hardcore Nintendo fans know this, and they simply do not want to see the Wii platform watered down with loads of me-too games that appeal to the casual audience and push innovative new games off the shelf. This is understandable. The sheer amount of mini-game collections for the Wii proper (some of them decent, but that's not the point), have overshadowed some very good games on the platform.

Some of it is misconception too. Many comments on the blogs were about the "Wii Opera browser", and improving the "Wii Internet Channel". If Flash for Wiiware is a reality, it has nothing to do with either of these. It is about Flash running native on the Wii OS, just like you can do on a PC or Mac as an executable or with Adobe Air. In fact, to Wiiware purchasers, there should be very little indication that game was built in Flash for the system.

At any rate, here are four reasons why I do not think Wii fans and pundits need to worry about the possible availability of Flash as a platform for Wiiware games..

1. Nintendo has a very strong vetting process. It is not easy to became a Wiiware developer, and it is not easy to get your game into the Wiiware store. This will not change if Flash is supported. It just means that there is another development platform for the few serious developers qualify to make games for the system.

2. There are 1000's of professional artists and developers who work in the Flash game field right now. This may open-up the platform to their talent, which could only mean BETTER games for Wiiware, because there is a larger talent pool of developers to choose from.

3. Flash is not the issue, the issue is quality control. The iPhone does not allow Flash applications, and it is FLOODED with cheap and crappy shovelware. It's a logical fallacy to think that just because Flash technology is available to wide audience, that it means you will see more crappy Wiiware games. Games are crappy because developers don't take the time to make them good games, or are looking for a quick source of income. They are not "crappy" only because of the platform they are developed upon.

4. Most innovation comes from the viral Flash game market these days. Flash Games are breeding ground for new ideas. In some ways, this fits with Nintendo's long history of great game design. In this way, the Wiiware platform can only be enhanced with new ideas and game play from Flash developers.

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