Cool Links Category

  • The Game Creators Newsletter 100 – well worth reading!

    I’m pleased to report that issue 100 of The Game Creators newsletter was published today.

    Starting the newsletter was one of my first jobs when I joined TGC many years ago, and issue 100 is a real landmark for them – and what an issue it is! Even if you don’t use any of their products it’s well worth reading because there are 100 free 3D models, 100 free Textures, a free copy of the Sensible Soccer style game Goals, a great 100 games (made with TGC products) article and loads more – including an opening and closing article by me :)

    You probably won’t find time to read it all, but certainly do have a good browse, there’s lots of great stuff and freebies for all game devs, no matter what software you use to make those games.

    The Game Creators Newsletter Issue 100

  • Join the 16K Atari Inspired Retro Re-make Contest

    The guys over at 8bitrocket are holding a coding contest.

    The aim is to make an Atari inspired game, using any web-friendly language that you like, in 16KB or less.

    When they say “Atari inspired” they do NOT mean a straight port / re-make. But instead for you to take perhaps the core concept, or game world, or environment of an Atari game, and make something new and exciting from it.

    Considering how many excellent games appeared on both Atari home computers / consoles, and from Atari / Tengen in the arcades, that is a truly staggering wealth of titles to choose from.

    To get those of you who aren’t 99% Atari (like me) started, here are some useful links:

    Atari Arcade Games (134 games from APB to Xevious)

    Atari Games (another 68 arcade games, from from 720 to Xybots)

    Atari 2600 Games

    Atari 5200 Games

    Atari 7800 Games

    and of course, Atari ST games – here’s a listing from my site the Little Green Desktop, and another from Atari Legend.

    There are literally thousands of games to choose from, and remember you are not trying to port or accurately re-create them. You simply need to draw inspiration from them, and re-make them in a modern way. I agree 16K is limiting. But limitations breed creativity :)

    The full rules / details can be found here: http://www.8bitrocket.com/2010/11/19/announcing-the-8bitrocket-16k-retro-re-make-contest/

  • @thibault_imbert drops a Flash 3D teaser bomb

    A few days ago Twitter exploded when someone noticed in the Adobe Max 2010 schedule a session called “Flash Player 3D Future”. Today Thibault Imbert (Product Manager for Adobe Flash Player) put up this blog post, teasing more on the subject:

    “Now you may wonder, what does this means, what kind of 3D are we talking about ?

    What kind of API ? True textured z-buffered triangles ? GPU acceleration ? Even better ? What I can say is forget what you have seen before, it is going to be big :)

    When this will be available ?

    We will share plans with you at Max during this session, I tell you, some serious stuff is coming for 3D developers.”

    The key part of his post is “GPU acceleration”. The software renderer inside of Flash has long been its bottleneck. It is what stops Flash being a serious contender in the desktop gaming market. It is what makes Unity developers look at AS3 3D libraries and roll their eyes. It is what makes the limit on the amount of pixels we can push around so incredibly tiny, in comparison to what even low-end GPUs can do these days. Equally screen resolutions are constantly increasing, but still we have to cram our games into small areas because performance just isn’t good enough.

    Most old-time Flash developers (hey Squize) don’t expect Adobe to announce anything useful. “It’ll be some half arsed gpu acceleration, only available if you set the wmode in the html, or something equally useless”, “does anyone remember the physics demo they showed last year? that never made it either”.

    Adobe have a lot to live up to from previous Max hyperbole.

    I’m slightly more optimistic, but I can appreciate their scepticism. Having been playing with Chrome’s HTML5/WebGL support a lot these past few weeks, I truly believe this is Adobe’s only shot at succeeding in the 3D web space. Because time is running out for them. GPU acceleration is going to have to work across the board, and accelerate all graphical elements: bitmap, vector, 3D. A cherry on the cake? Allow PixelBender shaders to run on the GPU too.

    It’s about time they truly supported Flash game developers. This would be a significant step forward. It would open the desktop games market to us, it would allow proper 3D games to be made in Flash, and it has the opportunity to give an incredible speed boost to all of graphics operations in Flash.

    Don’t drop the ball on this one Adobe. I beg of you.

    Read the full blog entry here: http://www.bytearray.org/?p=1836

  • Stop Telling Me What To Do!

    “Games, you see, are about having control.

    Videogames, most often, present the player with a world with a single end goal of “winning”. They are a perfect contrast to the real world, in which one makes one’s own goals, where goals and desires are constantly shifting, and the only ending anyone ever sees involves the main character dying.

    News flash: most people in the world are not astronaut supervisors or rock-star-slash-helicopter-pilots. Most people never get an opportunity and/or have the balls to be the guy who shows up to his job in a big stuffy corporate office on his first day in a leather jacket and sunglasses, tell the boss “You codgers need to change your game!”, and be the flip-flop-wearing CEO by Friday. Games like Dynasty Warriors give us a world with the invincibility code turned on: now we are the badass warrior capable of killing 300 guys before learning what a flesh wound is.

    We do — and this is a trite a thing as one can say — play games, sometimes, to escape the real world. People talk about that all the time. What I am proposing is that we play games precisely to avoid the parts of the world that tell us what to do, and when to do them, dangling “a more comfortable life” in front of our eyes all the while.

    Though that’s not all: games also present us with things we can finish. Things we can see through to an intended end. And we want to see the end. And the makers want us to see the end. Hence their trying to help us.”

    From Tim Rogers excellent article. I read it last year, and recently had reason to read it again. It requires a time investment to read it all, but it’s one I feel will pay back on itself many times over.

  • A lot of people have ideas …

    “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

    Nolan Bushnell