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!

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!

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.

Strange how sometimes I feel like there’s nothing to do for a while and then suddenly I’m swamped with things that need to get done. I wish it would come gradually, but I guess I do this to myself. I’m in the process of fleshing out my project plan so I can get a better picture of my progress on the game I’m developing for the xbox360homebrew contest. I’ll be managing it within my blog so I’ll make a post linking to the page so for those interested can see the current progress of the project, otherwise just look out for my weekly updates on the homebrew site or here. With this contest taking up pretty much all the time I have for game development the planned Camera Tutorial for blitzmax has been put on hold…until further notice. I might throw up a quick XNA version of the 2D camera that won’t support scaling or rotation (read: only translation) just to get something up in the tutorials section. No promises.

As for gaming, I’m still hooked on Battlefield 2142, and all I have played so far is the demo! I just bought the full version during lunch today since I couldn’t resist. I got Lumines Live yesterday for xbox 360 and it is strangely addicting. Must be something about the colors or music, but whatever it is, it makes matching blocks very satisfying. Although I find it a bit much to buy the game in pieces. You get the full game, but it’s still missing some of the more advanced levels so it forces you to pay up for more levels. Just sounds more like a ploy to squeeze more money out of the game, and it is already on the high end of the price point for an XBLA game. Couple weeks ago I also pre-ordered the Nintendo Wii. This system holds alot of promise in terms of innovative gameplay. I really hope it delivers! If this keeps up I’m going to be broke by the end of November. Well, time to go pick up the new books I ordered from Amazon :D! Peace…

 

Every once in a while I see a game that really goes off in a different direction. Sometimes it’s a gameplay innovation/evolution other times it’s a visual style that seems so out there that I can’t help but appreciate it. Games like this just reaffirm the fact that games can be art. It really takes an open mind to break free of typical game conventions such as creating photorealistic graphics, or going for the typical cartoon style of graphics seen in many 2D games. While reading the Blitz forums someone posted a link to a teaser for a game that seems to be doing just that. The art is very intriguing and I can’t wait to see more. Go check it out:

Limbo

On a more silly note, this little website generates names that would be applicable to games (some are a bit iffy). Regardless, some are halarious while other are just plain wrong :o. There are a few that are almost good enough to warrant further investigation to actually make a quick game. Some of the ones I found funny are:

Yoshi’s Nazi Trilogy
Barbie’s Income Tax Crisis
Indiana Jones and the Bazooka Slaughter
Drunken Duck – The Movie
Battlefield: Spelunking Revolution
Creepy Caveman Fight
Tony Hawk’s Ninja Tycoon
Fisher Price Burger vs. Street Fighter

The Video Game Name Generator

I had a long weekend and took some of the extra time to try to get ahead of schedule. Much to my surprise I got a rather good chunk of the ‘to-do’ list done thanks to XNA game components and open-source libraries. I posted a list of the libraries and components I’m currently using for my game and where to get them. I’ve also made a library of classes for loading Endgen map files into XNA. So far it’ll only load lines (since I have no art yet). You’ll also find an early screenshot in the gallery and on the post.

My 3rd Dev Blog Post 

More updates soon. In other news, I got the Battlefield 2142 demo and I have to say it is a decent improvement upon BF2. The unlock system kind of makes it more gimmicky since I’m more interested in fair competition rather than some MMO style of play. I haven’t had too much time to play it, so hopefully it’s just an initial impression.