Portfolio post

I've just finished a quick side project of mine and I decided to write this sort of 'portfolio post' to showcase some of my other work aside from WANA.

2 Player 3D Tic Tac Toe is the quick project in question. I tried playing 3D Tic Tac Toe on paper one evening with my sister and my cousin and not suprisingly it was rather confusing. I looked at some online versions but I couldn't find any that have easy enough control schemes so I thought this would be a great little side project. Plus I got to brush up on my Unity3D skills and it is one more thing for my portfolio.

Boxland is another little game I have up on Kongregate. It is an unfinished puzzle game, there are only a few levels. It was my very first Unity project and my first 3D game which was exciting for me at the time. You can probably notice that I have reused a few elements from it in my Tic Tac Toe game - I really wanted it to be a quick side project.

Textris is an XNA game I made as an assignment for my Computer Games Programming course last year. It was going to be plain Tetris but I had a week left until my submission deadline so I added a twist - aside from playing Tetris you also have watch out for words appearing on the screen which you have to type. Depending on whether you do that on time you will get a bonus or a penalty. The inspiration for this came from watching a friend play a typing game.

The following two projects are prototypes I haven't released before but are directly related to "We Are Not Alone" so I will share them here. Last year I was exploring the project of making WANA and at first it was going to be a full blown 3D game (I later realised I was way in over my head for the time). So I started with making a model of our solar system. I later expanded that into a galaxy generator similar to what I have in place in WANA now but in 3D (that one is runing only a thousand solar systems compared to the 10k of the 2D one). It was a great learning experience, I learnt a lot about how Unity works, stuff like textures, normal maps and shaders and 3D games in general.
The controls for both the prototypes are as follows: Move the mouse while holding the right button to change the camera view, use the mouse wheel too zoom in and out, clik on a star/planet to center the camera on it, double click on a star/planet to quickly zoom in on it.

Click it is a game I made for a 72 hour Game Maker game jam a few years ago. The theme was Insanity and though the game is rather short I think it is original and fits the theme nicely.

Keep Killing is quite old but I am fond of it so I thought I'd share it here. It is a top down shooter and it is also made with Game Maker. Unfortunately the online highscores no longer work but it still can be fun to play. It was inspired by the great game Crimsonland.

That's it from me for now, I hope you have fun with some of these games!

Posted by FiLkAtA | at 10:14 PM | 0 comments

Progress update

University has started again and I have decided to try to post more regularly on this blog. Hopefully my studies don't get too much in the way and I will still have time to work on the game. This post is going to be mostly an progress update, I don't feel like I've got enough new features in to release a new demo.

 I've been working on adding some stats to the planets. Their type and size are now displayed, but the more interesting thing is now they also have three types of production : Industry, Science and Flux.

Planet stats with decriptions on mouseover
- Industry is used for the production of ships and planet upgrades.
- Science output form all planets owned by the player contributes towards the technology he/she is currently researching.
Those two are pretty standart for this type of game but the third one is a bit more interesting. Flux acts as the game's currency but it also doubles as the fuel that the spaceships in the game use. This means that things (spaceships, upgrades, tributes, etc) are paid for in Flux and all ship movements use up some Flux. I think it is an interesting idea to explore and I haven't seen this done in any other game. It is also a different take on the traditional 'army upkeep' mechanic.
I was also considering Food and Population as planet stats but I decided to keep it simple for now. Planet anomalies inspired by Endless Space are also in the works. In fact I'm currently using a lot of text from that game since it is one of the primary sources of inspiration for 'We Are Not Alone'. Hopefully in the feature I will team up with a sci-fi oriented writer and all the text will be custom.

As I was working on adding those planetary stats I started using XML files for the first time and I must say it is a great way of saving data, I recommend that all starting out game programmers look into them.

I was also looking into reducing the planet generation time. I turned out that most of the time was spent on checking whether the newly generated star system would be too close to any of the others. As I was already doing the distance checks with the squared distances and couldn't come up with any optimizations I decided to try to make the code run in more than one thread. As I was reseaching how to do this I found out that the topic of  paralel computing is vast and it would take me a lot of time to get into it. Fortunately I came across Parallel.For, a for loop that runs on all available threads. It doesn't guarantee that the iterations will be executed in order but that was fine for my purposes. After using the parallel loop the galaxy generation time went down from 2.5s to 1.5s on my computer, I am happy with the performance increase.

Asteroid Belt, Arid and Tundra planets
Finally, I also added three new planet types: Arid, Tundra
and Asteroid Belt, again inspired by Endless Space. (An asteroid belt is not techically a planet, but ... :D )

That's it for now, looking forward to your comments!

Posted by FiLkAtA | at 5:48 PM | 0 comments