Latest Posts

  • New Game Released – Tractor Beams

    Today I released my latest game: Tractor Beams.

    This game was made for the Shaun the Sheep web site, and is a fun take on the classic dice game Yahtzee, only featuring characters from the TV show instead of dice, and a sci-fi setting instead of a casino!

    If you are a member of the site (and logged in) then it’ll save your score to the highscore system – see how you compare with others across the world!

    Read about the development process and play the game here.

  • 2.5 New Games and off to another convention!

    Things have been a little quiet on the PixelBlitz front these past few weeks. I have been working on some new classes but am not ready to release them to svn yet, however I have got a nearly complete Vector2D and Vector3D set ready, which will form the basis for a lot of things to come.

    The reason for the slow-down is that I’m nearing completion on two brand new games, and resurrecting and finally finishing a third. The old game I’m finishing off is Five Dice Frenzy, a Yahtzee inspired dice game. I’ve beefed-up the visuals, added a worldwide ranking / highscore system and a comprehensive playing guide. There are a few tweaks left but then I will happily release it. It’s up on FGL at the moment but I’ll finish it properly next week.

    My two new games are Tractor Beams and Fruiti Blox:

    Tractor Beams In-game

    Tractor Beams In-game

    Tractor Beams is a new game for the Shaun the Sheep web site. Next week, around the 15th it will be released and feature exclusively on there for a month before we seed it further. It’s a strategy game very similar to Five Dice Frenzy, but totally Shaunified! We did the visuals in-house, again the excellent pixel work of Gav / Jam Factory (check out his awesome new blog design!).

    The game features a really cool effect I created (almost by accident) on the title page, where the logo literally beams down from space into view. The effect could easily be re-used for a “spooky / ghostly” appearance, so I’m going to package it up and release it next week, so you can use it in any Hallooween inspired games you may be working on :)

    We Tractor Beams will go down well on the Shaun site. It takes a while to get used to it and understand how to play, but once it’s clicked the highscore attack becomes really addictive!

    My next game is Fruiti Blox:

    Fruiti Blox In-game

    Fruiti Blox In-game

    Fruiti Blox is my brand new game, with graphics by Peter Jovanovic. It’s an against-the-clock puzzle game, which is very nearly finished – but I’m still toying with the idea of expanding the core game out further and including several “mini games” to enhance it. I’ll decide next week once Tractor Beams is released :)

    Despite what the screen shot above may look like this is NOT a “Match-3” game at all!

    PixelBlitz

    So what’s next? I actually think it’s time to cease game making for a moment and spend some quality time on PixelBlitz, finishing off all the odds-and-sods I left hanging around, and integrating some core new classes into the fold. By the end of the year I fully expect to have the world manager done, and hopefully the tile map class as well (but no promises on that one!).

    I’ve been using PixelBlitz (at least core parts of it) in all my games recently, and it definitely speeds things up. But the more I use it for real games, the more I realise we need to add!

    Right now though I’m off to pack for The Game Creators Convention 2008. I attended last year and it was great fun, so I’m expecting nothing less this year :) Most people will be there already, but I need to travel up in the morning instead. It means getting up at 4.30am, but it’s worth it!

  • Made in 4 hours – You Dirty Rats!

    Tonight was the first FlashGameLicense.com coding competition.

    You had 5 hours to create a game based around the theme of “Lies” (you were free to interpt that theme however you wanted).

    I was late to start, so only had 4 hours, but here is my end result :)

    The competition winners should be announced on Monday. I don’t expect to win (some of the other entries were brilliant!) but it was great taking part all the same.

  • 99er by evoflash (the best Flash demo yet)

    I’m ashamed I didn’t pick this up since now as it happened back in August, but evoflash released their 99er demo at Assembly 2008 into the browser contest there and won. When you watch it, you’ll understand why! A truly amazing example of what can be done with Flash (and the Away3D engine). Click the picture to watch the demo.

    Or go here: http://evo.bombsquad.org/99er/away3d/99er-evof.html

    It’s stuff like this that makes me want to use Away3D instead of PV3D! But the new BSP enhancements I saw at FOTB08 in PV3D were very impressive.

    Damn it’s great to have so much choice :)

  • Flash on the Beach 2008 – As good as the hype?

    Having returned back from Flash on the Beach 2008 yesterday I finally have time to sit down and collate my thoughts.

    I had been looking forward to FOTB for months, the constant emails from them bigging it up, the “you must be there!” attitude coming from the blogosphere, the list of impressive speakers. It was set to be 3 days of Flash heaven. In reality it didn’t quite pan-out like this. I think my expectations were a bit too high to be honest, and should I attend again I’d know exactly what to expect, and crucially which speakers to avoid.

    I have full respect for anyone who can get up on stage and talk to hundreds of people. It’s something I know I’d have real trouble doing well, so I do genuinely admire them for it. But what I don’t admire are speakers who are highly dis-organised, easily distracted / side-tracked, or who delivered extremely content-weak sessions.

    A couple of the sessions were truly terrible from an organisation point of view – minutes of wasted time spent messing around in iTunes, or frantically trying to find a file somewhere on the hard drive (is it really that difficult to organise your presentation material into a single folder or set of short-cuts on your desktop?). It’s not like they didn’t have enough time to plan for the event.

    A few sessions also felt like little more than a narrated showreel of work (most of it quite old). This really bugged me, I wanted to learn new tricks and tactics to take home and play with, that is why my company had spent good money to send me there. But in reality this didn’t happen half as much as I would have liked.

    But it wasn’t all bad and some of the sessions were truly incredible. The absolute highlight of the whole 3 days for me was Joa Ebert talking about “Audio Tools Private Parts“. This was a superb session and truly inspirational. He covered object pools (and how they applied to their new Tween engine), lots of detail of approaching the seemingly simple problem of bending a cable around an object (lots of graphs, lists, sorting methods, etc). He also alluded to the fact that their AS3 disassembler is nearly ready. In short, the guy is a genius and I have absolutely maximum respect for him.

    I guess his session appealed the most because I’m a coder, I’m not a Flash “designer”, I didn’t acidentally fall into coding as a means to get my artwork to move. I’ve always been a coder. So it takes clever code to impress me. Joa’s 10 minutes of “live coding” in the Jam Session was excellent, but full respect to the C64 emulator (written in AS3) with sound support too :)

    I’m still kicking myself for not going to Andre Michelle’s talk, but it clashed with a session on decompiling and hacking SWFs which I hoped would be far more in-depth than it actually was (but again I can appreciate why it stopped where it did).

    Keith Peters did a good talk on playing around with verlets. It wasn’t complex stuff, but it was nice to see it presented so well. All of his slides were in order, his code easily accessible, his timing spot-on. I liked the little bits of history he dropped into it as well (about the real mathmaticians behind it all). It convinced me to pre-order his new book, not because I think it’ll contain anything earth shattering, but just because he has an obvious love for this stuff, and that’s always a good thing to inject into your book.

    I regret very much not hearing Grant Skinner, Richard Lord or Rob Bateman talk. They all clashed with things that sounded more useful in my everyday work, but sadly didn’t turn out to be the case.

    If I go back to FOTB I’ll definitely know how to pick better, which should hopefully increase what I ultimately take away from the event. But I can tell this much already – if none of the uber-skilled German guys are talking next year, I certainly won’t go.

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