My basecode For LD48_13 is largely the same as the past two competitions.  I have updated it a little:

  • Classes are now organized into the package net.lonestranger.common, game and network.
  • Network isn’t really too useful yet.  The only class that exists in it is called Report.  It’s job is to take a string of data and send it via POST to a website, where it can be digested as fit.  For example, sending scores back to a central repository.
  • You can take jpg screenshots by hitting F10.  They are named based on the current date/time and dumped into the working directory. 

Here is the link to download it.

I didn’t really list my goals in my declararion post a few days ago, so I’ll do it now.

  • Keep the same art style as last time.  I sketched things out on paper and scanned them in so I could colorize.  Keeping with bold colors and gradients is probably what I’ll do.
  • KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid!  Making something too complex is just a recipe for a headache at 1pm on Sunday afternoon.
  • Make useful additions to the basecode that can be used in later competitions.  The screenshot stuff is an example of something I did previously that helps out a lot.
  • Finish most of the work by Saturday night so I can spend Sunday polishing.

Ok, time to finish work and then I’m off to Thanksgiving, The Sequel, but I’ll check in after 8pm Pacific tonight to see the theme I need to start thinking about.  I expect everyone to be in FULL CODE MODE when I get back.  😉

The 13th Ludum Dare 48hr Game Programming competition starts this Friday, so it’s time to get the tools in order so there is less fussing when time is running short.  Also, my wife and I have been invited to Thanksgiving, The Sequel this Friday, so I won’t be home when the topic is announced.  I’ll try to check in to LD.com with my phone so I can at least start planning things out in my head.

So let’s take a look at what I’ll be using… (more…)

A recent post on the Beyond the Boxscore blog pointed me to another blog entry on Statspeak called Building a sabermatrician’s workbench.  And as the web will do, I was in turn pointed to Baseball-Databank.org.

I’m not new to MySQL databases or SQL queries, but the existence of a free baseball database was news to me, so I downloaded and imported the beast.  It’s quite an interesting blob of data and you can use it to analyize and discover tidbits about your favorite teams and players.  (more…)

The next full fledged LD competition is still months away, but I was thinking the other day about concepts and ideas that I’d like to try.  If the theme is right next time, perhaps I’ll use one of these.

‘tabletop’ wargame – Something along the lines of Axis & Allies.  Simple combat and strategy.  Perhaps even as simple as the old Global War bbs game would be doable in 48 hours.  Global War was troops only, while Axis & Allies has many unit types. 

Economic/Military strategy – Like Nobunaga’s Ambition.  Might have to simplify the combat a lot in order to get it done in 48 hours.  It also would be difficult to balance and tweak the economics.

play by email game – There was a game a few years back where your Kung Fu fighter fought against another person’s Kung Fu fighter.  You would challenge them by sending them an email and then it would play the match, and send the results back to you and the main server.  After awhile you would level up.  It got kinda weird when you had multiple challenges out and leveled up after one of them, but I’m sure there is a way to work around it.

sidescroller – I’ve always sorta wanted to make one of these, but never really got around to trying it.  When I was in 3rd grade, my friends and I used to make video games–on paper–and it would be neat to actually do it.  I think I have one or two of these sheets back at my folks’ house, so next time I’m there I’ll grab them.

Driving game – I think if you break it down to the basics, and stick to simple features, you could do a driving game.  Wouldn’t want to overdo the physics.  I’m thinking a lot more like Outrun than Gran Turismo.

Sports – It would be neat to come up with some kind of new sports game that could be simple enough for a 48 hour compo… and also fun.  Combine two sports or come up with a new one. 

Any types of games you’d like to prototype if you had a chance and a compatible theme?

It’s time again.  Seems like just a short bit ago I was working on LD48 #11, and maybe it was.  The contests are on a much better schedule now which should help in participation. 

I’ve been keeping myself busy working on a reborn and re-imagined project from back in ’03.  I’ll probably release more info on that when I have something good to show off.  If we get a compatible theme, perhaps some of the work on LD48_12 can be reassigned afterward to my other project.  Honestly, working on that project the past week has kept my skills and mind frame in the perfect place for the LD48.

Last time around I had to take time out from the alotted 48 hours to attend a baseball game.  I won’t have that problem this year, though I am in the mood for a good egg and bacon breakfast at a local joint Saturday morning.  I hope to remember to take a picture of that for the food compo.

This time around isn’t going to be much different than last time.  I’m going to use mostly the same tools as before:

  • Java 6 SDK
  • Eclipse 3.3.2 IDE
  • Photoshop CS2
  • HP OfficeJet 6450 All-In-One for scanning doodles
  • No Fear Energy Drink (Go Boris Said #60!)
  • Everlasting Gobstoppers
  • mIRC for chattery
  • Killer Game Programming in Java and the base code I used from last compo.

The only thing we need now is a theme!

Good luck, and see you in 1 day, 9 hours and 48 minutes!

I just finished watching RAW on my DVR a little bit ago, and I have to say that for the umpteenth time, WWE dropped the ball.  Sure, we don’t know where all the new storylines with all the post-Draft, post-tragic-accident jumble, but some really good ones just slipped through their fingers.

I’ll keep this short.  I don’t want to bore you with tons of small details, so as of Night of Champions, Mr. McMahon is out, his family is busy with him, RAW has no GM and both main belts are on Smackdown. 

WWE chose to have CM Punk use his Money in the Bank to bring a belt back to RAW after Edge was softened up by Batista.  While this may be ‘poetic justice’ considering how Edge has won the belt in the past, it’s also not CM Punk’s character.  Instead, it should have been drawn out over the summer or even longer to help bolster ratings in this traditionally slow time of year. 

Here’s what I would have done.

(more…)

BlockOut v0.LD48_11 (4/20/08)I managed to cobble together a mildly playable version of my game in time for the end of the Ludum Dare 48 Game Development  competition this weekend. 

It’s a concept that I had been toying with this past week, jotting down some ideas and refining it along the way.  Quite simply, it’e the game Breakout, only with a twist.  In regular Breakout, you move the paddle back and forth on the bottom to keep the ball from falling off the screen.  At the same time, you are trying to use the ball to destroy all the bricks on the screen.  In my game the computer plays the part of the paddle and you instead try to defend a goal at the top of the screen by placing bricks. 

It’s a neat idea, but I by no means was able to implement all my ideas.  The number one thing that was lacking is multiple types of bricks.  This version only has two: normal and 2X Hit.  As you can probably guess, normal takes one hit to be destroyed and 2X Hit takes two.  I wanted to add more bricks that did weird and interesting things when the ball hit it, like explode or eat it. 

You build your wall of bricks by buying them from money you’ve earned while playing.  So far, the only two ways you can earn money is to play, where you get one credit every so many seconds, or when the computer misses the ball with the paddle and it goes off the bottom of the screen.  Eventually you’ll be able to get money by doing other things.

One thing that doesn’t seem to work very well is the collision.  The ball seems to react well when it hits the top or the bottom of the bricks, but if it hits the side of two bricks, it can sometimes bounce in a way that causes it to go ‘inside’ the wall.  I have a few ideas on fixing that but I didn’t have enough time to implement them.

The AI could be improved, letting it think ahead instead of having it just react to the current position of the ball.  If I project the location it will be at when it gets to the bottom, I could have the paddle waiting for it.

There are no skill levels implemented.  Smarter AI, less money and multiple bouncing balls would make it more challenging and could be set to differing degrees.

I also didn’t do any sounds for it, as the compo requires that all resources be generated within the 48 hours and my recording soundcard is not quite working.  I will create some for the post-compo version of the game.  Same for music.

I tested it on the Sun JVM 1.6.0, though it should work on on JVM 1.5.0.  It will not work on the JVM 1.4.2, as it requires System.nanoTime() that was introduced in JVM 1.5.0.

I programmed it in Eclipse 3.3.2, and used Photoshop for the graphics.

You can download the game here or the source code here.

[update: changed the above link to the .zip file.  The jar just wasn’t handling some class-pathing stuff well and I don’t have time to troubleshoot it right now.]

The LD48 #11 Game Compitition starts in about eight and a half hours. The theme has yet to be decided, but it seems like it will most likely be one of the following: Minimalist (+28), Endless (+24), Defense (+22) or Flood (+15). My personal wish is to get Defense, as I’ve been thinking about a good concept this week for it. I haven’t been able to come up with anything decent for Minimalist yet, and Endless and Flood shouldn’t be too hard to design about. I don’t think we’ll get too many Tower Defense entries for the Defense theme, but even if we do, there has got to be at least one of them that does something in a new and interesting way. 

When all is said and done, and I’ve completed a game, I’ll post it here.  If for any reason I don’t get it done… well, I’ll still post something.

So if you have a (mostly) free weekend and you want to try your hand at designing and coding a game in 48 hours, come by the compo. Even if you don’t have the time, come by and check out the reports and progress of those who are.  You can also check my personal coding blog at LD.

Last weekend I made some predictions about this year’s Wrestlemania matches.  I pick who I think should win, along with who I think the WWE will actually have win.  I keep track of how I do for the ‘who will win’ pick.  The ‘who should win’ pick is merely my thoughts on what is best for future storylines or in developing stars.  It’s what I would do if I were writing this stuff.  On with the results…

24-Man Battle Royal – Winner faces ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero

Who Should Win:  Jamie Noble
Who Will Win: I said either of Tommy Dreamer, Hardcore Holly, Kane or Jaime Noble would have a good match with Chavo.

I actually didn’t get to watch this match, so I can’t tell you much about it.  If I was watching this match as it evolved and wrestlers were eliminated, I would have never expected it to finish the way it did.  It came down to two big men, Kane and Mark Henry, which I wasn’t really surprised to see, with ECW recently focusing on powerful large guys.  Normally, I would have expected Henry to win, since Kane never really ever seems to get any kind of legitimate title shots.  I figured they would make Henry their challenger, even if it was heel against heel.  But I was pleasantly surprised and Kane came out on top.  I can’t really take credit for this one since I basicly said four guys.  Winner: Kane (0-0) 

Belfast Brawl –  Fit Finlay vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

Who Should Win: Finlay
Who Will Win: Finlay
This was a pretty good and basic hardcore match.  They used weapons, but didn’t stray from the ring.  Each of the men beat each other silly.  I don’t care a whole lot for JBL, but he’s got a very good focused attitude when he wrestles that comes across the television well.  Every time Finlay gets into a ring with a table, I think about the time his leg went through poorly gimmicked table top in WCW and sliced through to the bone, putting him into retirement.  I was glad this was a simple match.  It didn’t really need to be a fancy hardcore match because WWE has been taking it easy with these things so that they mean something more when they actually do happen.  I’m not sure where they are going to go with JBL winning, but I’m going to guess that their feud isn’t done yet. Winner: JBL (0-1)

Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Mr. Kennedy vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho vs. Carlito vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. CM Punk vs. John Morrison

Who Should Win: Mr. Kennedy
Who Will Win: Mr. Kennedy 
 

This was a pretty good ladder match, but you could expect that with the level of talent they had in there.  The surprise of the match was a returning Matt Hardy getting his revenge on MVP as he went to grab the briefcase.  I thought that they would give the title shot to Mr. Kennedy because he seemed like the most main-event ready performer in the match.   As I was watching the match though, I realized that having an ECW wrestler win the title lets them not have to worry about working it into the main storylines in their top two shows.  Of course, if they wanted to really throw a wrench in things, they should have C. M. Punk use the contract to go after either the RAW or Smackdown champion.  Winner: C.M. Punk (0-2)

SmackDown vs. Raw: Batista vs. Umaga

Who Should Win: Umaga
Who Will Win: Batista

I don’t really care much for either of these wrestlers, so I didn’t pay much attention to their match.  It went about as I expected.  Batista didn’t need the win to be seen as a main eventer, but Umaga does.  Instead of trying to build up a top heel, they went the easy route. Winner: Batista (1-2)

Chavo Guerro vs Kane (ECW Championship Match)

I didn’t predict this one, though I did say that Kane could have a good match against Chavo.  It wasn’t a good match, but it definately was an interesting match.  Kane appeared in the ring while Chavo was looking up the ramp and then he chokeslammed the champion to the canvas pretty forcefully and got the pin 1-2-3 with no resistance.  Since C.M. Punk had the belt taken from him not that long ago, and he now holds the title of Mr. Money in the Bank, I imagine he’ll be using it to face Kane.  Winner: Kane

Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels (Career Threatening Match)

Who Should Win: Ric Flair
Who Will Win: Ric Flair

A great match between two great workers.  And before the ref had even counted three I was trying to think of a way they could reverse the decision and get Flair out of that retirement stipulation.  The reaction of Michaels right after the match and of the crowd and Flair’s kids was definately touching.  I still think that there had to have been a better way to have Flair retire rather than having him lose to another legend on the backside of his career.  I’m certain we haven’t seen the last of Ric Flair, but that’s material for another entry.  Winner: Shawn Michaels (1-3)

‘Playboy’ BunnyMania Lumberjack Match featuring Snoop Dogg – Ashley & Maria vs. ‘The Glamazon’ Beth Phoenix & Melina

Who Should Win: Maria
Who Will Win: Maria

As far as women’s matches go, this was pretty good.  I don’t see why they had Maria lose though.  It didn’t make much sense.  Jerry Lawler clocking Santino was ok, but I don’t want to see a feud between the two.  Maria should pick someone else to represent her White Knight and teach Santino to respect her.  Snoop did end up getting a little taste of Maria afterward.  Winner: The Glamazon and Melina (1-4)

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship – Triple H vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton

Who Should Win: Randy Orton
Who Will Win: John Cena
 
Having the marching band play Cena entrant’s music was a really unique touch.  I was really surprised with the results of the mobile text voting.  I figured that HHH (40%) would have a higher percentage than Orton (52%) and I didn’t think that Cena would have such a low number (8%).  Will WWE finally realize that forcing Cena as a face is a bad idea?  I can see his career parallel the Rock’s (albiet with a lower level of electricity) if they turned him heel and let the fan’s cheer him back to a face.  Lots of good action in this match.  Orton won in a way that was very Orton-like, with a kick to the head of HHH while he was going for the pin.  Maybe they will be changing Cena’s character since he wasn’t a factor at the end of the match.  HHH goes on to feud with Orton while Cena starts to terrorize anyone in his way, ala Stone Cold?  Winner: Randy Orton (1-5)

Floyd “Money” Mayweather vs. Big Show

Who Should Win: Big Show
Who Will Win: Floyd Mayweather

This was a better match than I expected.  Big Show is a great sport to lose to Mayweather.  He showed a lot of power and spent a good deal of the time throwing that power around.   I think Mayweather did a pretty decent job in the ring and if he wanted to give up boxing, he’d be an entertaining full-time cruiserweight wrestler.  How do they procede with Big Show now that he lost to a non-wrestler?  Winner: Floyd Mayweather (2-5)

World Heavyweight Champion Edge vs. Undertaker

Who Should Win: Undertaker
Who Will Win: Undertaker

This match was a sort of best-of-both-worlds.  Edge got to work over Undertaker pretty well, but he also took a lot of punishment.  Loads of near-falls to get the crowd riled up.  I think it cements Edge’s place at the main event level even though Undertaker gets the win and keeps his undefeated 15 win record at Wrestlemania.  Both men left it all in the ring and they definately showed that they deserved the closing match on Wrestlemania.  Fans went home happy, as it should be.  Winner: Undertaker (3-5)

Final Record: 3-5

Not horrible, but not good either.  While watching the matches I realized that there were probably some good reasons to go with the other guy that I didn’t think of the first time around.  I promise to try harder next time.

How’d you do?

My wife and I went to the real home opener for the A’s last night and watched what I hope is not an example of the kinds of games we’re going to see all season long.  They lost the game 2-1 against the pitching of Daisuke Matsuzaka who was definately on his game.

Frustrating rookiee mistakes were made with a Barton-off-the-shoulder foul-ball drop and Hannahan’s indecision after making a fantastic defensive stop down the third base line.  They weren’t the only ones.  Jason Varitek hit a ball that bounced off the white line on the right field wall back into the field.  The referees ruled it a double instead of the home run the replays showed it really was.  It ended up not mattering much because the A’s couldn’t manage to get anyone else home.

The two bright spots of the night were the solid six innings pitched by Joe Blanton and the solo homerun that Jack Cust hit on the first pitch in the second inning.   I managed to snap a picture of Cust making contact from our vantage point all the way down the left field side in section 234.  Except it was blurry.  Oh well.

Next up on the list of games is Travis Buck bobblehead day on April 19th against Kansas City.