Friday, 3 December 2010

Current progress and the gameDentity network

Generally I don't do as many of these blog posts as often as I should because I generally take too long to write em' and sometimes find it hard to justify with currently low views / comments etc, however, on this occasion I'll try to be concise and quick!

Lets go back a few months
As you may (or may not) remember from previous posts , I had been working on completing aDance, my physics-based arena dodging arcade game and even did a vlog for it. I also began talking about big ideas of including achievements and an in-game indie music play system.

All of this was well and good, but I came to realise I was very limited in my ability to actually deliver and implement these features in any of my creations due to the fact that my skill-set was limited in the necessary  areas to do so. I was stuck with relying on other third-party options (such as mochi, heyzap, gamersafe and the like) to implement some of these features or hack around them to make them work in a non-seamless fashion, not ideal and not good.

Now I'm not bashing these 3rd party options, they save time and enable many developers to earn money and socialise their content which is great, however if you want certain features implemented (such as a proper achievements system rather then the medals in mochi) you have to either hope and wait, hack it around the provided features or (as they rightfully often say) implement it yourself, so that's just what I decided to do! :)

Databases, PHP, MySQL, CSS and all things Dynamic Web
Around the 23rd of August of this year (around the same time 2 years that I started my journey with Flash), I began learning all the necessary web technologies to implement my OWN gaming and community platform (an ability I was always missing in my development tool-kit) for the above (and a few other) reasons.

I'm not gonna go through all the technically terms and details (Wikipedia's real good for that), but I can safely say that PHP was a tough but joyful language to learn and was made all the more easier because actionscript is very similar too it.

The hardest parts to learn were probably things like security (very important), relative file loading / linking and the differences in Class and Object based development in PHP vs Actionscript. Once I got my head around things like this it was simply a case of combining it with Dreamweaver, MySQL and AMFPHP, which results in me having a system that has the capability of doing all the things previously stated and all the things in my head, on the website and off via Flash.

Introducing the gameDentity™ network
And so gameDentity (or #gDn) is born. It will be entering beta 0.01 very soon and in a sentence I describe it as a Premium Social Core-Gaming Network.

The primary goal is for it to be a complete back-end, profile / user link and community system for Eternal Syndrome games and content (online and desktop). It's going to be online gaming's answer to XBox Live which I'm a huge fan of and use a lot (once I implement the online game play module).

The features include (some implemented already):

  • User Account Profile
  • Achievements (Currently 6 - 8 types including Titles, Treasures and classic types)
  • Leaderboards (Fully customisable and can contain many columns of criteria)
  • Save / Load system
  • Site and Flash based Login (works anywhere Flash does thanks to AMFPHP)
  • Native virtual currency (gCash)
  • Stats via gXP and gPoint (which can be used to get savings on premium content)
  • And more...
It has the flexibility and capability of allow third-party developers and partners to use the system.

Most of thee above will much easier to understand and visualise once it's out their in the wild, but as an example, a game like Diamond Raider will have treasure achievements for finding limited special treasured Diamond types that are only available dynamically to a limited amount of players and therefore highly sought after, think of it as the achievement only the quick and great get.

Right that's it, this was almost a hour in writing and I've still got a lot of work to do on this, mainly the Flash gDn modules, so thanks for reading and my twitter (@eternalsyndrome) is really the best place for regular / up to minute development updates. Thanks again!

Friday, 16 July 2010

All your musics are belong to us.

Posted this elsewhere earlier and thought since the image is so awesome and the post became so long, it was worthy of a dev lab update.

So, what I'm thinking of doing is potentially including great indie music artists tracks in-game (with permission first of course). The mock-up image below shows how the music player (called the ES Ra(u)dio Player, pronounced Raw-d-o) dialog will probably look and shows the ability for the user to find out more information about an artist / track as well buy content from them (Your album cover doesn't need to be as dope as Big Dog Mendoza's).

From avoiDance Concept

Basically (to begin with at least) aDance gets free cool music streamed in-game that matches the style / arena theme and musicians get extra listeners / fans for their music, a bit like EA Trax but indie with included artists getting direct links and an opportunity to sell their content to potentially millions of players (that's what a top end flash game gets, I'm aiming at that floor). All content will be served via XML meaning easy live updates of songs, descriptions and links. Artists will have the ability to see how many players do what with your content (ie click the buy button or add to their favourites etc).

This is all brainstorming at the moment and an idea based on the fact that I do exactly the same thing with arena content (xml based data) currently.

Right, that's all, I need to actual get back to game development for some new content to share, back to the carnage I suppose.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

If a Picture says a 1000 words how much more does Music say?

Today I'm showcasing (or rather spotlighting) some of the current music from aDance. Thus far they're 2 tracks (not including bumpers / stingers) but they may be replaced or change depending on where the development goes. Enjoy (or at least try too, ok?).

Main Menu Music

First up, the main menu music for my current game in development, 'avoiDance Concept'. This was my first track in FL Studio and all things considered I think it's pretty good, prior to this I made tracks only in ejay software (great for quick / start level track making).

Adance Concept Main Course by eternalsyndrome

Originally I was using some placeholder commercial tracks that were perhaps better then their current replacements but with my current budget (that being zero) I had to take advantage of my prior wise investments and finally get to learning / using FL Studio and my trusty Axiom 49 (it's a DAW hardware Army knife, serious). 'Hear' before are you the results of such a predicament.

This was my first opportunity to get real serious with it and I look forward to making more tracks and more importantly better at creating the sound that's in my head rather then just what sounds right or is just close enough which to this point I haven't reached yet.
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience being a big fan of music and how it can set the scene, feel, mood and atmosphere for an environment, situation and creative work such as games (big fan of the retro / chip music too). It just seems to have a special God-given attribute that makes it special individually and as a part of something.

Ingame Music

Ok, so this is the ingame music track (the music you hear when playing the game, but, you knew that already, right?).

Ingame Action by eternalsyndrome

Overall I think it's pretty good and does it's job well, I'm most pleased however with it's accompanying Stinger and Bumper (I think does are the terms, if not, feel free to use them to make it so) sounds, which play after losing or winning in an arena. The technique is pretty simply really, upward chords for the Bumper and reverse downward for the Stinger (with a black key or two if I remember rightly).

You can find out and hear more tracks (if I've uploaded them already of course :D) as well as other developments of this independent game via here (naturally) and the links below. Thanks in advance for listening, commenting, following, liking, hating, stalking, stealing (ok, don't do a few of those, seriously).

ES Twitter:
Dev Lab Vlog / ESTV:
Emmunity Forums:
ES IndieDB:
ES IndieDB (Game):
ES Flash Game Portal:

Monday, 12 July 2010

All your achievement are belong to us.

A preview design sample of the ingame achievement dialog and achievement icons (as well as some of the actual achievements that will be available for you to gain in-game!)

From avoiDance Concept - Click the image or here for full-fat version!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

First ES Dev Vlog by Indie Game Developer Eternal Syndrome for Freemium Flash Game 'avoiDance Concept'.

First off, sorry for the frame drops and any other dodginess, it's my first, I'll get better with time, your help and patience! :)

The game is still in development at this point and the first vlog features some gameplay from arena1_mc accompanied by my (Leroy 'The 1nteger' Frederick - Developer) smooth vocals to boot talking about the game and vlog in general ;)

avoiDance in a sentence is Unadulterated and Unashamed Core-Gaming, Orb-Dodging, Blood-Pumping Arena action experience!

If you have watched or are about to watch this vlog I really appreciate it, to that end, feel free to Comment, Subscribe, Like / Dislike, Follow, Stalk (ok, don't do that, seriously) etc. Links & the like are below!

ES Twitter:
Dev Lab Vlog / ESTV:
Emmunity Forums: Emmunityforums.eternalsynd...
ES Flash Game Portal:
Thanks again and look out for more very, very soon

Friday, 2 July 2010

Overall quick update and info on project 'stronghand'

General Update
So, I'm back from updating my 'Flash Skillz' so to speak which I've been doing a few months now and have begun putting them to good use. These new skills are fundamentally based on things that have created a better understanding of object oriented programming, creating reusable global classes (e.g. MathES.returnValueWithZeros(55, 3); returns the string (that's text) 055 and can be used everywhere in an as3 project without change) and just being better organised and consistent in Flash / as3 to create and test ideas quickly and efficiently (like using as3 Vectors instead of Array's when valid, I know, very techy speak :S).

I've also been looking at the free engine API's Flashpunk and Flixel where I've been looking to experiment with doing so fan remakes of classic games (they seem to be heavily retro game leaned). I've made good progress with Flashpunk but got stuck with collision (due to send a forum post for that), but thankfully I got it working successfully in the Flash IDE at least (it's meant for originally for Flex / FlashDevelop environments only). This is beneficial of course because if you do happen to have the Flash IDE, doing things like animation / interfaces is a doddle (you have to code all of this with the aforementioned API's which is a little backwards in my opinion).

Project 'stronghand'
I'm now just updating and improving my first premium flash game project aDance, codename 'stronghand' which will involve testing and adding new gameplay elements / environments, complete consistent new look, adding and adjusting elements according to feedback, completing mochi elements such as coins and social API (facebook / twitter etc), adding achievements (got the list already, but some may be arena based, so I need to account for that), improving the menu system (it's sleek already but I want to make it more engaging and entice play, I'll be looking at things such as Burnout 3, Flatout and other arena / track based progression games too) and many other tasks.

I'll have all these done by / before Monday next week and will be adding more info and pictures etc as valid around that time which will in turn help with the context of this update post and future posts regarding aDance, but for the moment here's the sell.

In one sentence:
Unadulterated and Unashamed Core-Gaming, Orb-Dodging, Blood-Pumping Arena action!

In one paragraph:
Unadulterated and Unashamed Core-Gaming, Orb-Dodging, Blood-Pumping Arena action! Avoid, Dance, Duck and Dive your way around the Danger Orbs and get to those score zones in an attempt to make the cut in the various exciting & challenging physics-based Arenas! This freemium game takes great advantage of the high-end Box2d physics engine making for a unique, exhilarating and high energy gaming experience!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Slight of Sight gets Reshuffled!

Well, I've been on and off on different projects of late (however a lot less so then previous thank God) but I've yet to have one fully complete this year (although a few are near to that and strong projects at too).

One of my main aims for 2010 has been to complete 3 or more games both in the creation and play sense (quality over quantity I know, but still) and thus far I've completed 2 games play-wise (Portal and Half-Life 2, great games, nice job Valve), now I think it's time for the game creation side to get similar treatment!

Time for a Reshuffle!
Over the last few days I've been working on creating a new version of Sleight of Sight (SOS) which incorporates many of the feature requests by many of the thousands of players. In truth, the original was just a tester for my first foray into Flash so most the requested features came as no surprise to me.

In short, the original as intended was very simple, but in turn too simple for repeat plays or anything above 3 Stars (out of 5). You can play it here if you haven't already or fancy a bit of nostalgia Play SOS.

The originals weaknesses came in that it was limited to 3 Covers (I meticulously animated each rotation scenario back then), little variety and the shuffling speed was done via adjusting the frame rate (which caused some speed issues for a small few).

The new version, which will be called Sleight of Sight - Reshuffled, is pretty much a vastly improved sequel.

In actuality I've been working on-it on and off since the updated release of SOS back in August of 09. It was only on about 2 days ago that I finally got my head around how to do smooth angled orbiting rotations in Flash (thanks Actionscript 3 Cookbook), which was the only way (other then rough diagonal / x.y shuffles) to creating an expansive and improved version of SOS. My excuse for it taking so long is in part due to the fact I'm not a super-math guy (yet anyway) and I tend to work best with making technical code work rather then create said technical code in most cases.

The New Shuffle!
To that end, currently I have the following features working nicely:
  • Dynamically created Covers and Targets which means Covers and Targets are only limited by the users screen size and hardware (3, 5, 10, 20 covers with 1, 2, 5 targets etc).
  • Math based rotation meaning the speed can now be adjusted based on time rather the frame rate (that's the idea, still got to implement accurate speed increases). This is also why I'm able to have as many covers as desired.
  • Multiple line Covers. This means I can make you guys and gals suffer trying to keep track of the target objects in 2, 3, 5+ rows of covers
  • AI bluffing. This means the shuffle can change directions mid way, back and forth
  • AI Multiple Shuffles. Obviously with 3 covers only 1 shuffle at a time was necessary. With an unlimited set having 1 shuffle at a time would be kinda lame, so there can be as many as available to swap, this also adds to the variety and challenge of the classic concept.
Yet to be Shuffled!
Quite impressive I think for 2 days work, but there's still a little more work to be done. This rapid development has been possible due to the other projects in development's codebase, a sexy in-house framework and more experience on my part in general. Below are some dev screenies, not massively exciting and hard articulate without seeing motion, but hey.

So, still on the To-Do list (disclaimer: None of there are guarantees, so just hope rather then assume ;) are:
  • Index order of covers correctly on shuffle to insure the right object is above or below the other correctly
  • New Timer-based speed increase system
  • Re-Introduce the blur effect in the correct position and with a new time-based system
  • Custom and / or intelligent zooming in and out of scene for larger cover amounts
  • Create and Test distractions feature
  • Decide upon final game modes and features
Now, if you look at the last post, you'd be forgiven for thinking this might not happen (or at least not for a while), but hopefully I can buck this trend of mine this year. Next update will likely be when I have these to-do list features owned! Hope to see you then!

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