Saturday, January 15, 2005

[Ant Attack 3D] Breakthrough

As you can see...



...the guys and gals at Blitz3D have shown me the way. I can now code on the TabletPC which will give me the time I need to move it forwards.

Beats reading a book on the train, the others using their laptops will be putting in last minute changes to Power Point. I'll be figuring out how to get more ants to attack you :)

Well gosh this is painful.

Now you see why, you should always do stuff for yourself and not other people. And never, ever, put dates and time to things.

Because I haven't had a chance to work on Ant Attack as much as I have wanted to, I've let myself become guilty for not doing it. And then fear coming to the blog because it'll remind me how I've not done stuff I said I would do.

Anyway, I've gotten over that now, even if it's just to say, "not done anything this week" :)

On a slightly different side, I'm starting a job in Febuary, which involves sitting on a train for 40mins each way. Great I thought, that'll be an hour I get to myself to code each day. Well yes and no, yes in that I can code. No in that I can't test it. Blitz3D (or normal Blitz) for that matter don't seem to want to work on a Tablet PC, even "Hello World".

The second you try to run something it just hangs around. I think this is because a Tablet PC's display can be in two modes, landscape and portrait, so when it reports it's screen resolution it may be tagging an extra bit of info on the end that throws Blitz, i.e. "1024*768, 32bit, landscape", where the last orientation part confused it.

Ah well, I'll see if I can get an update that fixes it.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

[Ant Attack] Hello RetroGamer

Woo, just seen this months bumper issue of Retro Gamer and Ant Attack is in it.

Sorry to say though that's it's not quite finished yet! However, I'm just going to wrap up a couple of loose ends and upload my latest build for everyone to play with. That should be going up on Tuesday Thursday (Had a lousy couple of days involving the dentist and pain killers) so check back then.

Also hi Jean-Yves who checks out this blog now and then. He's also got a write up in Retro Gamer about Midnight/MU, this project is looking really neat and interesting. I'm going to be spending a whole bunch of time trying it out.

. o O ( Wish I still had Summer Holidays!)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

[Ant Attack] Progress and Screen Shots

Phew,

Ok, I've gotten round to doing what I should have done ages ago, sorting out some of the deep internal code. There's a point at which things can suffer massive slowdown and I've been trying to pick apart where that happens. I've not fixed those code, as really there's nothing to fix, it just slows down. But I have added code that tries to detect when it's slowing down, so it can just ignore controlling the Ants until the speed picks up again. These does mean they wonder off for a short while but does solve the issue.

Here's a new splash screen...


800x600 58kb gif


I've also recoded the menu system, mainly so I can expand it and use it in other project (ssshhh, secret!). At the same time I've been having a think about the interface while playing, here's a first person perspective shot...


800x600 71kb gif


I was quite pleased when I first moved to the "wide-screen" look, with the black strips at the top and bottom. Then without thinking about it I went and put things in that space like the score and so on. Now those nice spaces are all filled up again. I think I'm going to move the scores and such like into the game play area, thus freeing up the black borders again. I really like the though of having un-used screen space.

Games went through this point where they got quite complex. 'cause of course initially there's so little memory to write a game that by it's nature the game has to be fairly simple. As computers got bigger and better you could have more in a game and so there was more information to display, screens got cluttered. In the last few years people have been trying to remove the clutter, giving feedback about health etc. in different ways, using mini icons and so on.

Myself, I have nothing against showing numbers, it's old skool and yet I still don't want to fill the screen with clutter. So I'm going to move the feedback into the game area. I've been keeping the score/time/health layout the same as the original game, now though that's going to change. I'll post the screen once I've done, and explain why I've done what I've done.

Couple more isometric shots, one standard the other zoomed out...


800x600 36kb gif



800x600 64kb gif


You may notice I'm still using the old ant and player graphics, I've had a little bit of time to mess round with these, but I'm going to hold that back until another post.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

[Jottings] Engadget Barcode Password Hack

So here I am trying to catch up on all the great Engadget Podcasts. They're now all downloaded onto my Tablet PC, I've got the head phones on and listening to each in turn.

I'm on #3 now and this just cropped up. I needed to make a note of it so I don't forget. File under "Things to look into". At 14mins in, there's talk about "scanning" bar codes with mobile phone cams and then it checks the price with Amazon or whatever. Nothing new there. But an interesting idea about storing passwords. You create a impossable to remember password (for something that's important but you're not going to need often, like "84hdkn349df7286kdjh764sk439wpreg", convert that to a bar code. Print out the bar code, stick it on a card and keep it in your purse or where-ever. When you need the password just "scan" the barcode and you have the password.

Of course you don't tell anyone what the bar codes are for though. And I'm pretty sure you could hack the barcode reading software to just rot13 the results and then shift it all 2 ascii values up or whatever anyway, just to be sure your bar code results aren't off the shelf.

Anyway something to play with later.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I'm back

Right that's it, everything is out of the way and sorted. So Ant Attack is back on track along witha couple of other things I've Just started working on.

New Screen Shots in a couple of days!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Still Alive...

...but everything, as you may have noticed, has/had gone on hold for a short while.

Normal service will resume in November :)

Mod.

PS. Thanks for your emails.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

[General] Guardian Games Blog

Just jotting! Finially came across the Guardian Games Blog, dunno how that slipped past me for so long.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/games/

Normally I turn to Bluesnews for all gaming news, it's a great aggregator and I normally click on all the Tech Info links to follow up the tech stories and find out the latest Game Release info, but it tends to not push an opinion on things, which is an editorial decision I believe.

Recently I've been reading http://www.joystiq.com/ because it's small, light, fluffy and you can leave comments. That last bit is quite important to me as it increases the usefulness of a site ten fold, just because other people can expand on the information and add links and sometimes put the other side of an argument.

I read http://www.gizmodo.com/ and http://www.engadget.com/ both cover gadgets, but http://www.engadget.com/ takes the edge because of the comments.

On the other hand, I avoid message boards and full blow communities because, frankly they just suck time away from you hard and fast. So many people say so much stuff, most of which I want to comment on that I could happily be there all day and not get anything else done, and boy do I have a lot of everything else to get done!

Anyway, back to that Guardian Blog, not really found anything to comment on yet but I'm sure I'll be adding my thoughts sooner or later.