Archive for the 'My Games' Category

14
Dec
16

My new game: Glittermitten Grove! OUT NOW

Here’s what I’ve been working on for the past 18 months with artist Paul Blackford and composer Ryan Ike.

Glittermitten Grove is a game where you build your perfect faerie village in the treetops of an ever-growing forest. Every plant competes with each other for the sunlight it needs to grow and there are a range of unusual species for you to discover.

Glittermitten.com, if you wanna tell your friends. You can get it on Steam:

Glittermitten Grove

19
Jul
14

Pinballesque v0.05

I’ve put up a new version of pinballesque.

ml2_thumbNew stuff:

  • The game now has ramps, as I mentioned in the last post. Still have a few sorting issues with the visuals.
  • I’ve redone the multi-level table, which is the one to play if you want to try out the ramps. It’s lit and rendered now, and this time in a glowy, emissive style rather than shiny look I used in table 1.
  • I’ve made some colours inherently more valuable than others (Later in the rainbow is higher). This means the top half should be much higher scoring than the lower half. It also gives me the capability to give higher rewards for harder shots. Unfortunately it adds another multiplier to explain and at present the UI isn’t doing a good job of explaining how it arrives at the score. I’ve also made some internal preparations for the goal system.
  • I’m prompting to user to hit a go button before launching the ball. My hope is that it gives people a chance to familiarise themselves with the flipper controls before being under pressure to keep the ball in play.
  • I’ve tweaked the trajectory hint visuals so it’s clearer that you’re seeing an angle range available at that flipper position, and also the angle you’ll get if you flip right now.
08
Apr
14

Pinballesque v0.04

More Pinballesque!

  • A new table: a proof of concept for multi-level tables. It’s a rough cut to try out two sets of flippers. The idea is that there’s a high risk/high reward upper table with really wide set flippers, and if you lose the ball, you can still recover it on the easier, narrower table.
  • In an attempt to shorten the aiming learning curve, I’m displaying a prediction line when the ball is resting on a flipper. I also show the full range of angles that can result from the flipper position.
  • Simplified gamepad controls to moving flippers in sync with each other, instead of each stick moving a flipper independently. It didn’t add much and made it much harder to learn. You can use both thumbsticks in unison to move the flippers faster.
  • The gap between the flippers is now constant. I used to keep one flipper near the centre to make juggling from flipper to flipper easier, but it’s kind of redundant now that the ball has more friction force from flipper movement.

I changed the GUI from ImGUI to NGUI in preparation to do the bulk of the UI screens. (I’m thinking Jetpack Joyride-style minigoals). NGUI is frustrating the hell out of me. Anchored objects work fine for a little while, then freak out and go walkies later on, and I still haven’t been able to identify why. The featureset of NGUI sounds awesome, but I wonder how much of it is riddled with bugs?

22
Mar
14

Pinballesque v0.03

A new Pinballesque build is up:

Physics/Controls:

  • I’ve redone the flipper physics so that they no longer glide frictionlessly under the ball. (Setting a Box2D rigidbody’s velocity directly is more respectable than teleporting its position. Using forces was simply too laggy)
  • The flipper bases now have nubbins on the end opposite the flipper to stop the ball from rolling off.
  • Added gamepad controls. I’ve only tested them on a 360 controller so far. Gamepads give you the ability to move the two flippers independently.
  • Flippers can now cross the center-line by a smidge, to help out when you lunge with the wrong flipper.
  • Mouse sensitivity is now consistent between different resolutions.

Visuals:

  • The combo blocks now have symbols associated with them to make it easier for colour blind folks.
  • I animated the combo blocks entering the combo stack. I use a depth mask above and below the stack and suspect it may cause compatibility problems. Let me know if you see blocks poking out the end.
  • Added light effects when you collect a combo block.
08
Mar
14

Render tests for Pinballesque

I’ve been experimenting with different art styles for Pinballesque. Here are some of the test renderings I’ve made with Zen Photon Garden, a 2D raytracer (the high quality batch version, not the web based one).

Zen Photon Garden is unusual because instead of the output being based on lit surfaces, it’s a map of photon density across a 2D area. This gives an interesting smoky look where every shaft of light stands out in stark relief.

Film noir styles! If only my game weren't about colour combos...

Film noir styles! If only my game weren’t about colour combos…

Woah. Too disco.

Woah. Too disco.

I said 'too disco'!

I said ‘too disco’!

After manual compositing in the GIMP

After manual compositing in the GIMP

Some promising results, but for consistencies’ sake I’d have to do lush shading on all the rest of the art too, which is daunting. The dark lines extending from the ends of the walls are an artefact I’d like to get rid of. I think I can fudge it in my Unity -> ZPG exporter by rounding the corners of the boxes.

06
Feb
14

Pinballesque, prototype 1

Here’s the pinball redesign I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks:

Play Pinballesque

  • As I mentioned in the previous post, I want the goals in pinball to have more internal consistency underlying them. I’ve made a combo system where you get points if you collect colours in some kind of pattern (consecutive repeats, rainbows etc.). Sorry colour-blind folks, I really ought to add symbols too but I haven’t gotten to that yet.
  • You can move the flippers from side to side. They rotate as they move to allow a range of shot angles, so I can tighten the flippers’ flick angle down, which reduces the precision of the timing that a player needs to hit a target.
  • They’re also gigantic flippers with a very gentle slope. All to get a larger timing window.
  • I’m still playing around with different schemes for moving the flippers. I ought to play around with different input -> response curves.
  • Always keeping the pair of flippers adjacent to each other felt too Breakout-ish. Making one flipper mirror the other made transferring the ball from flipper to flipper really hard, as did moving them in synchronisation on their own halves of the track. I haven’t tried mapping them to thumbsticks yet, but it’s promising.
  • It’s hard to evaluate how successful I’ve been with the crappy table design. I feel like there’s a ton of room to improve on that, but table design is tricky and it really is a time sink.
  • For fun I put in some tinkly marimba notes with pitches driven by the sequence of colours.

First impressions of Unity’s 2D support

  • The sprite renderer looks handy. I dig the new editor handles and the atlasing support.
  • The 2D physics engine is way less configurable than PhysX, and I regret that I didn’t just use 3D physics with one dimension and 2 rotation axes locked. It’s missing some really obvious stuff: moving/rotating objects without teleporting to the final position, a ConfigurableJoint equivalent, configurable bounce/penetration thresholds and so on.
  • That said, being able to edit the polygon of the PolygonCollider from inside the editor is really, really convenient. (Shift and Ctrl click on the collider outline)

Sound in Unity

This is my first time using sound in Unity. The built-in support is monomaniacally focused on sound in 3D environments without any of the other stuff a game typically needs (control over polyphony, priority/duplicate handling, ducking, loop boundaries and loop mode, variant sounds). I previously thought GUIs were the most unloved part of Unity (and the most likely to be summarily replaced with an Asset Store hack), but sound’s definitely a contender.

(I love that it has tracker module support out of the box, although  – characteristically – there’s no control over the playback. No channel volumes, no tempo control, no seeking to patterns)

The dumbest thing is that FMod is built into Unity, you just can’t see any of it from the script layer. My former co-workers, the Curry Brothers, have managed to do an end run around this by writing C# bindings for an FMod DLL that they include along with the exe. Surprisingly you don’t need Unity Pro for this. It won’t work for web player builds, of course, but it’s an interesting possibility for a full game.

26
Feb
12

Leaving PikPok

I quit PikPok this week. I’ve been at Sidhe since mid-2006, and working in the PikPok mobile label since the start of 2010. I’ve met some startlingly talented individuals there and it’s a shop with great prospects, but it’s time for a change. I’m quitting to work full time on my own projects – I want a train-wreck I can call my own.

When I’ve got something ready for public consumption, I’ll announce it here.