Author Archive

  • PixelBlitz: BlitzMath is live

    Tonight I pushed up a new build of the BlitzMath utility class. As dull as this may sound it gives you a set of functions to perform math tasks that either AS3 is very slow at, or that simply don’t exist.

    For example there is an extremely fast new rand function for when you only need a small integer back. There are enhancements to the standard Math.random() calls to provide for min, max, int and Float support. There’s a faster abs(), a very fast sqrt replacement and a few other experimental things.

    There’s also a nifty little function I call “chanceRoll” which when give a value between 0 and 100 gives you a boolean back based on that weight. For example say you had a player hit a baddie in a game, you could give him a 30% chance of getting a critical hit by calling chanceRoll(30). I know, it’s simple, but it’s lots of simple little things that will make this framework great :)

    There’s also a blindingly fast simultaneous sine/cosine table generator. So fast in-fact you can generate the tables in real-time! The length, sin/cos amplitude and frequency are all under your control.

    This is all now in Google Code, and here’s a quick demo to play with:

  • PixelBlitz: New package, new domain

    Yesterday I completed the move to re-package PixelBlitz. Norm agreed, and we registered a new domain (pixelblitz.org) and I went through and updated the library to use the new package location.

    I think it makes it cleaner and easier to type :)

    The domain name will be used to point to a PixelBlitz web site, once we’ve got some time to actually build it – in the meantime I’ll redirect it to point to the Google Code site.

  • MindCandy Volume 2: Amiga Demos

    I just had to write something to say that the oh-so-excellent MindCandy Volume 2 DVD has been released! Volume 2 is all about Amiga demos and contains 30 full productions spanning the range of the Amiga scene, from the Red Sector megademo and Enigma, right up to Fat Fits Karma by MadWizards, and Silkcut by The Black Lotus.

    All of the demos were captured and rendered using genuine Amiga hardware, and then painstakingly stitched together for the best possible viewing on DVD. There are loads of extras as well, so for just €15 I urge you to consider buying this – I just ordered 3 copies :) (1 for me, 2 to give to friends at the forthcoming TGC Convention)

  • BlitzKeyboard is live!

    After a mammoth coding session tonight I have committed the first version of BlitzKeyboard into the PixelBlitz Engine.

    I’m really happy with this work – it’s pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted from an advanced keyboard handler :)

    So what can it do for you? In short it’s about saving you time. At the core is an extremely fast keyboard event handler, so all you need to do is ask it if a key is pressed or not:

    [as]
    if (keyboard.isDown(BlitzKeyboard.LEFT))
    {
    player.x -= playerXSpeed;
    }

    if (keyboard.isDown(BlitzKeyboard.RIGHT))
    {
    player.x += playerXSpeed;
    }
    [/as]

    Simple. Fast. Efficient. Of course if that was all it could do it would be nothing special – but it can do so much more …

    Multiple Key Support
    Accurate detection for one, two or three simultaneous key presses, including Location support. That means you can check for the difference between the left shift key and the right shift key. A full range of constants are built into the class, so rather than remember which keycode relates to which key, you just use our constants list. This list has been extended to support Enhanced keyboards, so you’ve got it detecting the Windows (or Apple Command) keys as well as the Application key.

    Set the Key Rate
    In an arcade game you need to pick-up the key presses as fast as possible, and BlitzKeyboard does just that. But you can also configure a Key Rate, so if you only want a certain key to fire once every second then that’s no problem.

    Bind Events or Functions to Keys
    You can set a key (or key combination) to fire an Event or call a Function. You control if the Event should fire when the key/s are pressed down, or fire on the release (when you let them go again). You pass in the Event and then set an event listener to listen out for it, and it handles the rest. It even takes the Key Rate into account, so your Event will only fire at the frequency you set.

    Wait Key support
    Say you need to wait for the user to press a key before proceeding with your game – then just use the waitKey() function! You pass it an Event and a type, and the next time a key is pressed the Event is dispatched, no matter which key caused it.

    Key Hit Counter
    Want to know exactly how many times a key has been pressed? Then call keyHit() on it and this method will tell you just that.

    I’ll be adding a few final features, and preparing the demos in the coming days. But the core class now exists in Google Code for the curious.

    Next up is BlitzMouse which will handle advanced mouse events – things like mouse zones, reporting on how fast the mouse is moving, scroll wheel handling and more.

  • PixelBlitz Update – addLimit() and removeLimit()

    While chatting to Norm on MSN we were both quite surprised at the lack of Game specific libraries / frameworks for AS3. Things that make creating a game as easy as possible for the developer. That is what we really want PixelBlitz to turn into, and I made another small step towards it today.

    I’ve commited r22 to Google Code, which contains two new commands: addLimit() and removeLimit(). They are as easy to use as this:

    [as]
    //    The Player
    player = new PixelSprite(new Bitmap(new plane1BD(0, 0)));

    //    Limit the player to the region starting from 100,100 down to 450,300
    player.addLimit(100, 100, 450, 300);
    [/as]

    Essentially all it does is limit the PixelSprite to a set region of the stage (in this case a 350×200 block in the middle). It’s far from earth shattering, but PixelBlitz is about helping you make your game quickly, with as clean code as possible, and all these little things build up over time.

    It means that when checking the keyboard to see if you can move the player, you no longer also need to check the X/Y position, because that is being handled for you.

    I’d post a demo, but I figure you can work out what it looks like already :)