Christmas is around the corner (for those that celebrate it), along with New Years. It’s a busy time of the year that’s for certain, and I’m busy just like the rest of you. Mark Coffman announced the winners and prizes for the xbox360homebrew contest over the last week, and I’m certainly happy at the results :). In regards to WildBoarders, the game has reached over one thousand downloads this past week! Exciting news for me anyway. I won’t be updating for about a week after tonight’s update as I’ll be up in Ohio for Christmas. I figured I’d leave an update on “what’s cooking” and a taste of things to come.

I’ve gotten my subscription setup for the XNA Creators Club, but haven’t deployed anything to the 360 yet. I’m currently staying at my parents’ home so the network setup doesn’t make it easy for me to connect a 360 with ethernet cables. I did start porting over WildBoarders to a 360 project, and it’s proved to be rather interesting. Some of the libraries I used had to be rebuilt as 360 projects, while parts of the game code are going to have to be redone because some features I used don’t exist in the 360 .NET version. That’s the easy part anyway. WildBoarders was started in XNA Beta 1. As a result, I had to code my own little resource management system along with some custom loading code for the maps. I now have to fully convert the system to use the XNA content pipeline since the 360 XNA .dll is missing Texture2D.FromFile(). I used that function for loading assets from binary map files that were, in turn, loaded into memory first. So I guess I’ll have to write a custom pipeline importer to load 2D textures from memory streams. WildBoarders on xbox 360 before New Years? A possibility.

In other news, I’m still working on the camera tutorial. I finished most of the code last night and it’s a fully functioning system that can move, scale, and rotate. I just need to add one more feature, and then I can sit down and write a tutorial that’ll hopefully be easily readable by XNA beginners. It is going to involve some basic Matrix and Vector math, but there really isn’t any way to avoid it. On the bright side, it could be used as a good primer before you delve into full-blown 3D math ;). I decided to enter the Great Games Experiment beta. This community that Garage Games is building is looking to be very cool. The whole system makes it very easy to release new games, chat with gamers, developers, and publishers alike. Exciting indeed. That’s about all I have for this update. I’ll be back around the 27th or 28th, and during that time I will have limited internet access so expect some delays in responses to e-mails. Happy Holidays!

XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 and TorqueX came out. I gave it a spin and looked at a few of the starter kits. Torque is a rather complex beast so I didn’t get too far with it for the time i spent with it, but it looks promising.

On the topic of WildBoarders, I’m releasing version 1.0.1 today. This version runs in XNA 1.0 and is simply using the updated Farseer Physics Engine. This fixes a lot of the major gameplay issues with bouncing and smoothness over the terrain. In addition to the binary release, I am releasing the source code as-is for WildBoarders 1.0.1. Hopefully it’ll help those looking to make similar 2D scroller games and can use this as an example. Keep in mind, there’s some areas you probably don’t want to use as an example as this was made for a competition and somethings were last minute throw-together code. You can also find it in the Code Archives section of my site.

Regarding future work, I’ll be picking up WildBoarders and polishing it probably sometime in January. I’d like to finish a few other things prior to that. One of those is the camera tutorial for XNA, which I’ll be redoing. After finishing WildBoarders I found there’s a few design problems with the camera system tutorial and I’d like to address those. While the first tutorial was a very light-weight camera system (which wasn’t the version used in WildBoarders, but similar) I’m going to go ahead and make a fully functional 2D rendering system with layers, camera control, and animation. I’ll be releasing parts of the series as I finish each section. So stay tuned for those popping up on my site. I finished writing the framework last night so it shouldn’t be long before the first part is up, hopefully.

Sure, this game is not going for sale or being published or whatever. So it wasn’t the complete game development cycle, but there was still plenty to learn. This is my 2nd complete game released, so I’ve still got a ways to go :). But I figured I’d at least run through the motions and write a detailed postmortem. Read on for the details…

Continue reading

Howdy! It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been rather busy in the last week finishing up WildBoarders for the competition. It’s uploaded and ready for download now. The game was created with XNA Beta 2 over two months. Go check it out along with all the other cool games in the contest entries section at xbox360homebrew.com. It has been a fun two months developing a game from the ground up. I’d like to thank Adam for his amazing art and helpful suggestions during the development phase, and for sticking around during those last few days to ‘get it just right’ for release. There’s still some work to be done, but for now I’m taking a break and going to enjoy the upcoming holiday.

When I finally recover, I’m going to work on polishing up WildBoarders for a few months in my spare time before going full speed ahead on my next project. There’s still alot of stuff I didn’t get to and was hoping I’d be able to fiddle around with in the 2D arena (particularly particle effects and shaders). Also some of the levels could use a little clean up as a few sections were ‘rushed’ to get it complete for the deadline. Not to mention sound could use a little work also. I don’t think I’ll go through the trouble of maintaining patches and such as I’ll probably just update the main download file and adjust the version number.

 XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 is out! So hopefully in the next couple of weeks I could possibly get this ported to 360 to see how it runs, and also update this release to work with XNA 1.0. I’m sure there’ll be some changes needed in the code (particularly for widescreen support on the 360) to get it to run properly. In the meantime, I’ve got some code clean up to do and some gaming to catch up on (Oh how I miss you Zelda).

Later.

So this week is the final week of the xbox360 homebrew contest. I can’t wait to see and play all the games to be released this weekend :D. I wrote up the final dev blog post before the due date on Monday. I had an issue getting XNA games to run on typical user machines, but was able to resolve it thanks to another fellow game developer in the contest! It seems rather weird, but fortunate, that my editor and game has kind of hit ‘critical mass’. What I mean is in the editor it is now a pleasure rather than a pain to do a level. And as for the game, all of the hooks, callbacks, frameworks, etc are in place so now if I need to add something it’s simply just adding a class and inserting it into the correct update loop. So development is speedy as ever. Last night I created a whole finished level in a couple of hours, rather than days. So that’s progress, if anything. Not only that, but due to some art pipeline improvements and refactoring in the edtior, I’ve increased memory efficiency by a lot.

I’m still trying to keep my project plan for WildBoarders as up-to-date as possible. At least it covers what has been done, while things that still need to be might not be listed on there yet (I keep a hard copy list). The contest is winding down but the work needing to be done isn’t. I may start posting a bit more frequently until the 9th to update on my daily progress if I have the time. Until then, see-ya.

That’s how the title of blog entries suffer when I’m caught listening to some catchy tune. I made a new Dev Blog entry for WildBoarders over at xbox360homebrew and I posted an article in my Tutorials section for dealing with large 2D worlds in fast paced scrolling games.

On the gaming front, Gears of War kicks major ass. I was skeptical after the initial announcement many months ago. I just couldn’t see how the gameplay would end up interesting, but the graphics were sure a joy to look at. Regardless I caved into the hype. Fortunately, it has lived up to the hype in every way if not more. The gameplay truly delivers and it’s a very well polished (understatement of the year) game. Got Tony Hawk’s Project 8 also. Haven’t played a Tony Hawk game in years, so coming back to it was a bit refreshing. Haven’t tried online yet, but the leaderboards for the single player game are great on their own. Wii is coming out at the end of this week so I can’t wait to get my hands on that! In between all of that I’m still playing BF 2142 somehow. Yea, I’m pretty…um…deep into the whole gaming thing, development and all. Not sure I still manage to make time to go out on the weekends :o. Either way, this fall/winter should be an exciting time for gaming and game development!

Seems progress for the game has slowed down a tad over the last week, but I’m getting there :). XNA Beta 2 came out this past week so I spent a little time porting that. I made a new dev entry over at xbox360homebrew so go check it out! I added a new image to the gallery also. On a side note, Adam Stewart, the artist for WildBoarders, launched his new site last week! So go check out Vertigo Boom and try to see if you can figure out what it means. I’ll give you a cookie if you do. As for the camera tutorial, I’ll be porting it to beta 2 when I have a chance. For those trying to use it right now I believe the entire source is throughout the article so starting a new project wouldn’t be too bad anyway, which is a good way to learn in my opinion. I’ll make use of the content pipeline in the new example and probably add a feature or two to the camera class. It’ll probably be tracking and scaling. I also posted a new video of WildBoarders. You can find the download link below:

I’ll post a new entry when I get the tutorial updated. But that’s it for now. See you next week, bye!

I realize there’s been a delay on my updates on this blog. But if you follow the xbox360homebrew site you’ll know I’ve been keeping up with my weekly updates. You can find my 7th dev entry there describing the art process of my game. Seems like everything is pressuring me to update update update! WordPress just released a new version that I’m going to eventually get around to. Most exciting is XNA Game Studio Express released Beta 2. I think I’ll be spending this weekend migrating the code over. My biggest concern is my map load routines and how the content pipeline managers textures. Does it detect duplicates and not load another copy into memory if I try to load the same file 3-4 times or not? Once I download the beta I’ll experiment with that. Not too fond of re-importing all of my files and fixing alot of the things that were changed, but hey, that’s what beta is for and the changes are welcomed :). Plus, it’ll give me a chance to refactor alot of the ‘bad’ code made from experimenting. Thankfully, I still have my XNA beta 1 install should things go horribly wrong. I added a few images into the gallery showing some of the art process/sketches for WildBoarders.

In other news, I’m actively consumed by Battlefield 2142. Going to be competing in leagues and ladders with some buddies on it very soon :). I also got a few reservations set for some 360 and Wii games. November is going to be full of great games! Going to have an official development update at the end of this weekend on my contest entry so keep an eye out for it.

Hmmm… 4 hours of sleep. What a splendid way to start off the week :|. Spent the weekend working on my game, along with a healthy dose of gaming and much needed sleep. It’s getting cold here in Atlanta and I left my warm jacket at my parent’s place in Montgomery, so it’s been a bit chilly getting to work. Anyway, made a new post over at the homebrew contest. I hope it’s coherent since I wrote it at the last minute and half asleep.

My 6th Dev Blog Entry

This week is going to be full of adding features to the editor and refactoring game code so I can make maps more easily for the game . I also just came across a rare instance where a ‘polish’ type feature has now become a necessity. I need to add camera zooming. Right now the image’s are much too zoomed in and it’s hard to see the artwork for the landscape without falling into the pits. I guess I could make the object of the game to be to find the biggest pit and jump into it :o. Still alot of work left to be done. I posted some new screenshots in the development gallery that you should check out. There’s a new main menu screenshot for Wildboarders in there along with some in-game screens. Might be writing a short ‘add-on’ tutorial for my camera 2D tutorial I posted last week. Next week, if everything goes to plan, I’ll have a new video of the gameplay to show, along with some more screenshots.

In other news, it looks like the XNA Team is preparing for another beta release for XNA studio express. There are no details as to what will be added, changed, or fixed yet. I’m curious if they’ll be adding in the content pipeline in the beta. The biggest surprise would be if they added some sort of cross-platform networking support, even if it would just support windows for now and later expand to xbox live that would be awesome. Far fetched, but hey, it’ll be Christmas soon :D.

What?! Two posts in one day? Yea well, this one actually has some content to go along with it. I’ll make it short and sweet. You can find more info at my dev blog. I’ve got some cool stuff to share for this weekend’s update so stay tuned!

I put up my first tutorial! Hurrah! Go check it out in the tutorials section. I’ve also posted my game’s project plan for anyone to follow it as the game progresses. You can find that here. Peace.