Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Stupidly good indie games bundle

So check this out. If you haven’t already got Democracy 2, because you thought it was a bit pricey , think again:

This is through Direct2Drive, who are a reseller for some of my games. If you bought those games separately, they would cost $77.75, and they are selling them as a bundle for $17.75, which is clearly mental. I must have been mad.

Even forgetting that I have a game in there, that’s a pretty impressive deal. If you haven’t seen a game play video of Cogs, it’s worth checking out (puzzle game done with amazing polish).

The deal ends on 9th August, so if you like the look of it, snap it up now :D.

What would Jack Thompson think?

When I create particle emitters they normally have a parent object, but some, such as missiles being shot down and exploding, do not and are ‘orphaned emitters’.

These die out, but if you quit mid battle, some orphans are left. If you then start a new battle, you see the smoke clouds from the previous one for a few seconds.

So I need to clear them and fix that. So I am writing a new function called


What would Jack Thompson or the tabloid press think?

Polish, Interface, bug fixes

I’ve got a lot done today, it’s just hard to pin down exactly *what* has been done. Lots of small fixes went in, and some fairly obscure bugs were caught (like the ECM effect noise lingering after ships died, or the ECM effect not being skipped if its entirely offscreen).

I also carried out a bit of a tidy up and revamp of a ton of small issues on the main deployment screen, which is where you may spend about half the game time, and added a whole bunch of tutorial messages. GSB is one of those games that looks great in videos, and people trying the demo will likely want to see things blow up right away, and thus skip all those helpful messages about selecting ships and zooming the camera. The new system watches how you play, and (for example) if you haven’t used the camera zoom after 20 seconds, it will freeze the game, and pop up a quick one-time message prompting you with a hint on how to do it.

I think thats the best way to handle these things. Every FPS on earth teaches me to use WSAD to strafe, to right click to reload, or to hold down shift to sprint or crawl yada yada. Why can’t they give me a few simple tasks, and only bore me with laboriously crap and slow voice acting IF If turns out I don’t already know most of that stuff.

People learn at different speeds, and in different ways, and games should eb flexible about making sure you tell people how to play, without patronizing the hardcore.

I might be moving house soon, meaning I’m dealing with estate agent stress. I just *know* that the moving day will co-incide with release day for GSB. It’s an inevitable conspriacy to kill me through stress.

Even Bigger, Better Explosions

It’s no good doing a game called gratuitous space battles without serious ship explosions. My current benchmark explosion is this one from revenge of the sith:

I’ve watched it hundreds of times, and taken about 30 still frame captures from the DVD to use as reference. I have quite a complex particle and effects system for GSB, and it’s coming along nicely. Currently, the average cruiser will have 17 distinct events as it explodes, not counting the release of escape pods

Those 17 events are scripted like this:

1 = 0,128,80,EXP_FRIGATE
9 = 270,128,128,EXP_CRUISERDEBRIS
14 = 400,128,175,EXP_FRIGATEBREAKUP
15 = 400,128,175,EXP_PLUMES
16 = 400,128,128,EXP_BLASTGLARE
17 = 900,128,128,EXP_ANGLED_DEBRIS

They relate to particle effects and other graphics. So there are a number of different particle emitters called from different points on the hull, then at 210 milliseconds after detonation the sprite starts to tessellate into pieces. At the same point, the damaged hulk texture starts to cross fade into existence behind it, and the hulk components start to drift.  At 270 milliseconds a shower of permanent debris is spawned. At 400 milliseconds, plumes of wandering particles appear, accompanied by a bright flickering white glare which also generates a shockwave blasting existing debris out of the way. A final shower of temporary particle system debris is triggered right at the end.

This is all configured per-ship-hull, so different ships can detonate in different patterns and styles.

It looks cool :D