Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

2007 in words and pictures

Well I've been freelancing for over a year now, and GYW must be due it's first birthday, and what with it being the start of a new year I thought it'd be cool to look back at what's gone before so we can look to the future.

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The Day of the Warm Beer. One of my favourite games, I was just given so much freedom on this, and one of the few games that I'm really gutted with didn't have more time with 'cause there was so much more we could have added.
I'd do a sequel tomorrow if I could.
( One quick thing to note, the boys at skive had to alter it, click tracking I guess, so the correct font isn't shown on the sat nav and the arrows pointing to your friends don't tween correctly. )

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Polarity. I love parts of this, and really dislike others. Should have been better than it is, but it's still pretty impressive.

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Greenlight. A really aggressive deadline for this so it was a stressful development ( I was also finishing off Polarity at the same time ). Not my thing to be honest, but I think what we did we did well. It's recently had some more levels added to it, but I was tied up so they were done internally at Skive.

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Think & Drive. My first job with Morpheme ( Before starting on the Phantom Mansion games ). It's still sitting around waiting for the client to supply a final bit of copy before going live. Feels a bit dated now ( It's been gold over 6 months ) but it's still fun, and it was great using the mouse to control a driving game.


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Signs of Life. Epic huge project, although I really had next to no input. A pay the bills job for me.
I'm not going to link to it as it's UK locked due to it being a BBC project ( And therefore funded by UK licence fee payers ). I think 'cause of that it's recieved a lot less attention than it deserves, which is a crime.

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Phantom Mansion(s). A very difficult and drawn out development, but we're there now and it plays really well. I've just all but finished the next chapter ( Blue, which is number 5 I believe ? Starting to blur a little now ) so that should be out before the end of the month.
( Some of the early chapters have an issue with the loader frame work, if it gets to 3 hands on the preloader and just sits there, hit F5 and it'll work fine ).


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Model City. Bit of an emergency job to help out a mate, I re-coded Fuel Factor-Y from scratch in 8 days ( I think that includes the never ending supply of amends ) as the original game source we were given would have been too much work to reskin and add the additional features.
Also did the code for the model city itself ( The loading Hub ) and various bits and bobs on the other two games.
Not the most fun project I've ever worked on.

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Crazy Balls. Just a rebrand and re-release of an old game to see how it would fair on Kongregate. It died on it's arse.

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The Game of Life. This was actually being developed when I was working on Signs of Life ( And "Golden Balls", which still hasn't been released and I think I'd be badly busted if I even posted a screen shot of it ).
First time as a project manager, and one of the best things I've ever done, and great working with Olli and Marmotte on it. There's more than enough posts about it on the blog so I'll leave it as that.

And that's a years worth of development. Hopefully when Olli stops being lazy and taking time off he can post some of his goodies too.

Coming up we've got the platform game ( Which I'm really proud of. It's on par with GOL in terms of love and quality ), the continuing Phantom Mansion games, Orbs and Olli's got a great old school game that we've been commisioned to do. All good.

Squize.

Hopefully the last post about performance

Well I was going to do a review of the year just gone, but time's against me, so I may be lame and do it tomorrow. Only a day late.

As regular readers will know finding the performance drop in the official release player compared to the beta's was as welcome a surprise as waking up next to your mum, so I thought I'd try and be a bit pro-active, rather than just bitching.

Firstly I posted at http://www.kaourantin.net/ although my comment wasn't posted ( 1 about the performance drop was at least, although no response there ), so I posted a comment over at Emmy Huang's blog, and Emmy was excellent and put up with my slightly wingy emails about the subject with some really helpful replies.

The up-shot is,

"@ Squize - I've filed a bug - you're right."

So the good news is it's on a bug list now, rather than just being moaned about by us game devs.

There seems to be quite a few bugs with the latest release. Normally I wouldn't even care to look, Flash player bugs are normally just things you stumble across as you work, so I don't know if there's more with this latest build than normal due to the big changes going on under the hood.
Looking at it positively if there are a lot of bugs we may get another update before F10 rather than people just coming up with work arounds.

Have a good New Year everyone.

Squize.

Flash Player update available to address security vulnerabilities

"Critical vulnerabilities have been identified in Adobe Flash Player that could allow an attacker who successfully exploits these potential vulnerabilities to take control of the affected system. A malicious SWF must be loaded in Flash Player by the user for an attacker to exploit these potential vulnerabilities. Users are recommended to update to the most current version of Flash Player available for their platform."

See details here: www.adobe.com/support/security/bulletins/apsb07-20.html

nGFX

It's live, it's live, it's live!

Two posts in one day, check me out.

Anyway, this is a good one rather than a "Adobe, what the hell have you done" style post.

The Game of Life is finally live! Not on the actual client's site, but it's out there for people to play. Thanks HSBC for letting us run with this project, and cheers to Dom and team Tak for not stressing out during the development :)

Also a huge thanks to both olli and marmotte for their hard work on this. One of the most satisfying projects I've ever worked on, and to me it sums up everything about GYW. This is us.

Hurray!

Squize.

Not everything in the garden is rosy

So a couple of days ago I was damp with excitement that the new Flash player was on general release.

After testing it for a short while, I'm bone dry again.

It simply doesn't perform anywhere near as well as the beta. My heart's not into comparing it to the last F9 release, it is quicker, but compared to the beta 3 it's a bunch of arse.

This is a real blow. In terms of Orbs it means I'm going to have to cut back on what I was planning, as that was specifically targeting the speed of the beta.

Beta 2 was quicker too, so I don't understand why the final release is slower than the previous 2 beta players which have been around for months. What's more annoying is that I don't understand why adobe would release two beta's with a certain speed, which you would code to and try and take advantage of, if the actual release player isn't going to match it.
It's like test driving a car only to have the engine changed when you actually buy it.

I'm pretty fucked off with this, as we all should be, and I've spent enough energy being annoyed, so if anyone else is interested to take this further, or has some insights into why this is the case, there's a thread on FK games.

Squize.

So you like vector images because of the size ...

From Stanford comes this nifftly "little" browser based applications that allows you to convert your averrage bitmap file into a high quility vector image.

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(taken from VectorMagic page)

It's free (though you need to register), it's great (just tested a few images of mine) and it uses flash as a front-end (so I think it qualifies for a post here).

Have a look at it here: vectormagic.stanford.edu.

nGFX

Oh. The dgNotify app. now is in private beta stage (we're using it to track out project times now heavily) and I hope to be able to announce a public beta more sooner than later. If things work out like I hope, you can create an account online and use dgN to keep track of your ToDo's and bugs (and use it as small group, too).

It's like a gift I've got

Following on from this post, MovieStar is officially released !

That's fantastic news as it means that people will finally get to play our games at that sexy full speed.

Also my prediction was only about 14 days or so out, not bad :)

Grab it here.

Squize.

Call me paranoid...

Whenever I'm developing a game I always get slightly paranoid when a game in the same genre is released, no one wants to write a game only to have something better pipping you at the post.

So I was a bit worried when I read about Fire and Ice ( And not the Amiga game of the same name ).

The worry wasn't removed when on loading it up it looked great, has slopes ( The icing on the Flash platformer cake ) and even uses a similar Star Wars wipe that we've got in place ( Argh ). On playing it through I was relieved to find it's aimed at a much different audience than our platformer. Man that's a hard game.

Let's just hope Fancy Pants II doesn't come out the same week as "NDA covered project".

Squize.

'cause we all love a Movie Star

I guess most people reading this will be running the latest Flash9 player beta, "MovieStar".

It's pretty damn sexy in that we're finally getting desktop speed in our browsers, which makes a huge difference to the overall performance and smoothness.
For the platform game I'm working on we're really noticing the difference. With MovieStar it's great, feels like an emulated game. With the actual official FP9 release it's not quite as great ( Still good though :) ).

Which leaves us with a slight dilemma, do we push forward with games currently in development now and make them as nice and shiny as they could be 'cause in x number of months virtually everyone playing it will have the official MovieStar release, or do we stick with what we've got now at the expense of the game feeling dated possibly soon after release ?

I found this link which is interesting, and it does feel like MovieStar will be gold and released soon, so sod it, let's build for that power ( Orbs has been built from the very offset to need the speed of MovieStar, it would badly suck in the current F9 player ). I think it's safe to hedge our bets that game players by default move over to the most recent tech. whether that be graphics cards or Flash Players.

Let's hope so anyway.

Squize.