Exciting news! Bearbarians will be on display at this years Pax Prime in Seattle on the 30th August – September 2nd! This has been made possible through an exciting partnership with the fantastic people over at Playvue.com – so do check ’em out! To see which other awesome developers will have their games at Playvue’s booth check out this link!
This will be the first time I’ve had something at Pax and I am very happy about it. I’ve designed banners and cards to help promote the game and I can’t wait to see the pictures from the event – not to mention have a whole heap of new people exposed to my games!
Unfortunately I won’t be able to be there in person as I will be moving house. My girlfriend and I have found and bought a beautiful house in the south of England and we should be moving in the week after next! It also means that I’ve taken the opportunity to move in to an office. For those of you who don’t know, working from home is great at first, but quickly gets pretty boring. Stuck in the house all day and not being ‘at work’ means that things are either too quiet or there are too many disturbances. Family members or friends who can’t quite make the disconnect between working and being ‘at’ work.
PAX has also pushed me to redesign my branding. I don’t know if you noticed but at the top of this page I’ve added a new logo. I wanted to go for something simple but instantly recognisable – and have a standardised logo I can use and reuse. The idea was to have something simple that could be ‘re-skinned’ but still be recognisable (much like the way the apple logo has changed over time but still has continuity) – Let me know what you think!
Its also about time I let you know where I am at with making games! I have for the longest time been tied up with an extremely time consuming private contract for a piece of software. Its not something I can talk about, but its also not something you’d be interested in so thats ok! What you care about are games. And I am very happy to give you an update on that front.
I am currently working on 2 (with a few more on the back burner).
1) Super Adventure Pals 2
First off – take a look at these AWESOME pixel versions of the Super Adventure Pals:
I was having some SERIOUS trouble with the game engine on this. Memory leaks all over the place and severe slow down. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to understand what was happening, and a few great things came out of that process. The first was I learned that flash is incredibly slow at creating new and disposing of old objects. What I mean by that is, for example, if you had a particle system with 10 particles flying around, if you create all 10 and then remove all 10 when they land, only to create another 10 a few frames later and then remove them – flash’s memory will balloon out of control and more then likely a lot of the items will not be marked for garbage collection (atleast if you are anything like me!) causing huge slow down when flash finally does decide to remove everything due to running out of memory.
The answer to this (and its by no means profound) is object pooling. What you do is have a ‘pool’ of particles and when you need to create one see if the pool is empty, if it is then create a new one. Then when you are done with the particle, add it to the pool where it can sit until you need another one. Not only have you avoided creating a new particle and dodging the time consuming ‘constructor function’ but you have also saved the process of removing it and being at the mercy of the sporadic flash garbage collection system. I can’t tell you what a life saver this technique is. I know that the guys at Iron Hide (Kingdom Rush) do it (as do many others) which is how they get so many units on stage without lag. Its amazing to think that adding and removing objects can actually be one of the most time consuming processes for flash!
It is for this reason that I have restarted the Super Adventure Pals 2 engine. And boy are the results showing! I’ve also recreated our editor to allow for some new flexibiltiy and set it up so we can save our levels to disk – thus reducing the huge amount of time it took during SAP1 to edit levels. We had to rely on keeping them in flash’s memory! Which meant we lost levels… alot!
Here are some screenies of the sexy new editor:
As you can see there are a number of improvements on the ‘Zombinsanity’ editor which we used to make SAP1 and also Jack Lantern. Elements such as doors and platforms can be linked together to trigger each other, making for some interesting mechanics and maybe even some puzzle elements There is also a property inspector which means you can directly edit custom properties on level elements such as the speed of moving platforms, whether a switch activates or deactivates something, whether a door starts open, etc, etc. This may not sound exciting – but if you’ve ever made a tile based platformer you’ll know that adding flexibility is always an exciting thing which can add alot to the game play and game mechanics.
All of this has really made me feel that I have ‘levelled up’ my understanding of flash and programming in general.
2) Epic Time Pirates (working title)
The other game I am working on now is called “Epic Time Pirates: Buccaneers of the Space-Time Continuum” and its going to be AWESOME. Does anyone remember my game Combat Hero Adventures? Well, its one of those: an arena shooter in the vain of Raze and Armor Mayhem. The twist this time is that you are a group of time travelling pirates, pillaging your way across time and space on a swashbuckling adventure!
As the captain you’ll have a band of rag tag adventurers as well as parrot called ‘Mr Biscuits’. There will be an arsenal of weapons to unlock, costumes to edit your character and crew as well as the ability to upgrade your parrot for different buffs and abilities.
The game is relatively early but I can show you some sketches:
There will be more news on this to follow. The main two points to mention are that it will be released first on Not Doppler in around October and the second, is that one of the game’s guns is a shark launcher: