Summer is coming in the Northern hemisphere and life is blooming in the flower beds, bouncing in the field and floating, flying or fluttering in the skies. To celebrate the coming of what we hope will be a summer to remember, we have lots of news to bring you. Top of the bill, we have the Hot Summer Deal to get you making games whatever your level of experience and time to invest. FPS Creator is approaching a new release with so many features your only problem will be which one to implement first. Our users have been busy creating tools to ease your development in both FPSC and DarkBASIC Professional. We have competitions to keep your ideas flowing and a host of other news to keep you informed and entertained.
Until next time,
(1) Summer Deal (2) App Game Kit (3) Dark Imposters (4) DarkBASIC Pro (5) FPSC News (6) Alfresco (7) Doodle (8) AppUp Dev Group (9) Level Editors (10) FPSC Compo (11) TGC Store (12) 3D Compo (13) From the Forums (14) BOTB (15) Winner
It's summer time! Perfect for playing sports and enjoying the golden rays. That's all fine and dandy until the weather lets you down.
For those grey rainy days TGC has created this Summer Game Making Pack. Learn the basics of game design with The 3D Gamemaker and My Doodle Game, they're ideal for kids of all ages. For teenagers the pack also includes FPS Creator and nine model packs!
This deal runs from June 1st to August 31st inclusive, order now to grab this deal!
Order in June and you’ll also receive model packs 44 and 45 for FREE!
The following titles are included:
AGK development has been proceeding at full throttle this month with three team members dedicated to getting you the best solution for the next generation of app development.
Paul has been hard at work ensuring the platform specific elements of the engine are solid and that the AGK now has a well defined final list of commands for Version 1.
Mike has been equally frantic in producing a whole slew of articles, tutorials, demos and examples for the much anticipated help system for AGK. We learned a hard lesson from DBP, such that any gaps in the documentation leaves users bewildered as to what they ought to be doing. As AGK is aimed at eliminating all such moments from the process of creating cool cross-platform apps, we're making sure our help system is exhaustive!
On the compiler front, our beta testers have started to create some small programs and some key issues have been discovered and resolved already, including the addition of multi dimensional arrays (no small feat). The IDE has been tightened up to remove the clutter of a modern 'do everything' editor, leaving the functionality you actually need readily discoverable.
We have produced a video which demonstrates what we have coined 'AGK Magic', which allows AGK coders to broadcast their apps over wifi and instantly test their apps on multiple devices all at the same time. No messy wires or prolonged set-up required! You can view the video later in this newsletter.
The breaking news is that we have added MeeGo to our list of platforms supported by our initial release, meaning you can take your Windows based app or game and instantly have it running on a MeeGo netbook. That means no SDK, no new editor to learn, no complicated environment set-up, no need to learn any Linux. Just switch on your MeeGo device, run the freely downloadable AGK Player and click 'compile' on the Windows IDE and watch as your app springs to life on the MeeGo screen!
For those with a commercial disposition, we will also be writing an easy to follow step by step guide on how to submit your finished app to the various stores available to sell your app to the wider world. Just imagine the hit rate of your app as you simultaneously release on the App Store, Mac Store, Samsung Store and the all encompassing AppUp Store.
Keep your eyes out on the AGK forum for more news, tit bits from the beta group, tweets from Lee (@leebambertgc) and of course the next newsletter when we are sure to have more information on the release of AGK Community Edition.
This month you can see a preview of the AGK in action, in a video presented by Lee Bamber. Watch as a simple game is deployed to five separate devices and springs to life before your eyes. Using Wifi, you'll observe the game appearing on an iPad, iPhone, netbook, Samsung phone and desktop PC. The more observant of you will immediately realise that this combines many different resolutions and input methods.
The App Game Kit is now targetted for release during July 2011- you can register now to be the first to receive new information by signing up at the website: http://www.appgamekit.com/
The latest updates include the AGK Magic video, sample code for 2D physics and screenshots to accompany the code.
You can sign up and join in the discussions in the AGK Facebook group here.
Dark Imposters provides a mechanism whereby a vast amount of objects can be drawn on screen while keeping the frame rate high. Imposters are 2D quads, textured with an image of the object they represent. This means you get all the detail without rendering all the polygons which will help your game run at a much faster speed.
The imposters automatically become active at a certain distance determined by you, they then automatically regenerate when necessary so they always provide a good representation of your game object.
Everything you need to know about both DarkBASIC Professional and FPS Creator development can now be found via Lee Bamber's Tweets. You'll get to hear about every bug fix and feature as it's implemented.
Start following Lee now to get the latest news about your favourite development tools as it happens.
IBOL is back with another astounding game written under an intensive remit. Raather than being a product of the 20 line challenge, this one is a product of the 7DRL (7-Day Roguelike) Challenge. Following this, it's also been upgraded to a graphical version using David Gervais' roguelike tileset.
You can download both versions from the forums, and feed back on your experience with the game.
On the forums you'll find a free little tool to make Bitmap Font creation easier. Waffle has created this utility to generate full, customised bitmap fonts in minutes, if not seconds! Select your font, size and colour and click build; it really is that simple. You can also add a drop shadow to your font in another colour and customised offset. Download the free tool now and start experimenting. You'll find a host of posts on the forums that will help you use your new bitmap fonts if it's new to you. Head over to the forums now to pick up the tool and feedback on just how you plan to utilise it.
You can enhance the output from the tool a little more if you have a few basic graphical skills, and a suitable application. Using Photoshop or an alternative editor, follow the steps below to go retro, sci-fi, or any other style of your choosing.
This month Digital Skills (publishers of the Hands On DarkBASIC Pro books) have the second part of their article on counters and timers. Part 2 covers a variety of timers that you might want to add to a game. If you want to count up or count down, there's something there for you; there is a standard digital counter, a stopwatch-type counter and even an exploding bomb timer! The article includes a simple game to let you see the timers at work.
The text is, as always, in PDF format and suitable for viewing on your PC, iPad or Kindle DX. Find it at http://www.digital-skills.co.uk/.
Created by Neodelito, this application not only allows you to browse and view your models, it will also output professional images of them too, with great backgrounds to complete the look. Import, pose and select the animation frame you require. Resize and position, then when you're ready take a snapshot of your model looking game-ready. Switch shaders on and off to compare the differences, and add lighting to perfect the placement against the background. The application will also load FPSC-ready models, using the associated FPE file data.
Special offer while stocks last: Dark Game Studio, Dark Physics, Dark Lights, Dark AI and Extends for an incredibly low price of $49.99. Save over $170!
Creating your own PC games is now easier than ever with this special compilation of game making tools:
Save over $170 on this special deal. Be sure to check out the screen shots and the online videos. You can of course order safely and securely online, for delivery via postal mail.
After many months of adding features, and ensuring those remain solid, we are almost ready to release the official update to FPSC V118. We are currently at BETA17 RC1 which will be the final release of the update save any last minute show stopper bugs reported in the next week or so.
Thanks to everyone who has helped test the update, and especially to those who have discovered and made use of the Google Code issues board which is a great place to drill down individual bugs and find solutions. This will be one of the biggest updates FPSC has seen in years, and could not have been achieved without the dedication of the modder community, who took it upon themselves to take FPSC source code and just run with it. Well done everyone!
Here's a quick overview of some of the new features and enhancements:
Daniel Foreman has created video tutorials for DarkBASIC Professional for some time now. This month he ventures into FPS Creator, and starts to present NickyDude's Community Guide in video format. Here we see Xplosys' scripting tutorial explained in a step-by-step guide.
Take advantage of this whopping special offer! Get FPS Creator and 9 Model Packs for an incredibly low price of $29.99 USD (€22.00 EUR, £19.99 GBP). This deal includes:
Click here to purchase the Bonanza pack, including FPS Creator
for just $29.99 / €22.00 / £19.99
Authored by Explosys, Alfresco (out-of-doors; in the open air) easily and quickly creates trees, shrubs, tall grass, and more for your FPS Creator levels. The included textures and models are enough to make a wide variety of greenery in any sizes you choose. Simply add new textures to the resource folder to create even more varieties.
This free software has received rave reviews from the FPSC community. Make your way to the forum thread owned by Xplosys to find the download of the latest version, and to discuss and provide your feedback.
What do you think of the upcoming Adventure theme for My Doodle Game? Our My Doodle Game Facebook group members have had a sneak preview of the new theme, along with the news that the title is coming to the iPad very soon. Being a Facebook group, you can also post your thoughts, ideas and even snapshots of your own games.
You can join up to the My Doodle Game Facebook group here.
My Doodle Game is a fun and creative game making tool, and with it you can literally draw your own games and then have hours of fun playing them!
Make a scrolling shoot-em-up or a fun platformer, it's so simple to use and the results are instant.
The application comes with some pre-made characters and games. You can use these or just draw your own and build up a personal library. You can mix and match heroes and enemies and make some really wacky games. Personalise your games with your own wav sound effects and mp3 music. We're sure you're going to love My Doodle Game, it's instant fun and if you have kids they'll be fighting for control of your PC to make their own. Bring your game ideas to life in this awesome new game making tool from TGC.
Visit the Doodle Game web page for full details and to purchase the game. You can also find the gallery containing some great ideas for starting your own game.
We all enjoy making games, it's why you are reading this newsletter right? There is another reason for making games that we sometimes don't like talking about though isn't there?
Money is a dirty word to some people and to be fair to them it's because they have high ideals. That's nothing to be ashamed of but as my father (God rest his soul) once said to me "If you can make your hobby your job you'll be a happy man." So if you are like me and want to make money from making games (or Apps) but you also have high ideals and would like to give your games away for free then why not do both!
Putting advertising into games can make you more money than revenue from sales, but how? Simply because people will download a free game a lot more often than one that costs them money. Also one of the largest markets for games is the under 18 market who don't have much (if any) money to spend. So why not make money, not from the people who want to play your games but from people who want to advertise their products? To this end I have been working on getting advertising into my free games using Google AdSense, an advertising platform aimed at web developers (mainly) but which can be used sensibly to advertise in games.
There is currently a nearly fully functional version of the setup code and functions required to put an AdSense advert into your game using BBB Gui (a free plugin by Brendy Boy), an AdSense account (which you will need to set up yourself) and your own website (to set up a web page containing the banner). If you would like to follow the progress of this project you can find the forum thread here. This code is not just applicable to AppUp games, it could work in any game you put out there so if you are interested or think you might have some valuable input please follow the thread and try it out yourself!
There are a number of games currently being developed specifically for AppUp by various forum members and I thought it might be helpful to share a few of these games with you as they progress from concept to validation. Hopefully this will give an insight into some more specific problems and solutions that you might encounter whether developing for AppUp or otherwise.
This is a 2D adventure game in the very early stages. The graphics look great and the storyline about a woman trying to find her missing daughter in a strange world sounds like it could get quite epic. It looks like a very promising project from Chris Van Wijmeersch (The Slayer) and a few collaborators. The challenge here will be in maintaining a decent framerate with such high quality graphics.
It is very hard to come up with an original style of game but Lucas Tiridath has succeeded admirably with this unusual game based on shipping. Essentially you are guiding boats to and from an island, helping them to avoid enemy subs and battleships as well as keeping the island supplied. Interaction in the game is through text instructions sent out to the boats you control and I found myself getting thoroughly immersed in protecting and supplying my own little island. The game is all but done and looks to be a great addition to AppUp, it does not present any major technical issues as the style of the game is ideal for running well on a netbook.
This is a 2D space battle game where the enemy is only temporarily visible as your ship's scanner / radar passes over them. You have to try to remember where the enemies were to shoot them and avoid flying into them. Unlike most ‘memory' games you don't have time to think about it as the action doesn't stop. This game is also in the early stages of development and is written by Adam Hodgson (Hodgey). It's shaping up nicely with a small demo available on the AppUp DBPro Developers Group thread. The game itself should run really well on a netbook, I see the main challenge for this project being the development of variety in the gameplay.
Richard Rosenthal works at Mommy's Best Games, developing games for the Xbox and the Xbox Live Marketplace. Our first part dealt with the need for level editors, and the principles behind how much effort should be put into the editor. Part 2 dealt with the different parts of the editor and the output it creates. In the third installment this month, we take a look at some code and the components that will make it easy to build and maintain the editor.
To manage pieces, create a TYPE for pieces, and a TYPE for piece categories (I refer to these as Kinds, because type is a reserved word), and some sort of way to connect them. For example:
KIND AS KIND
X AS FLOAT
Y AS FLOAT
ALIVE AS BOOLEAN
NAME AS STRING
IMAGEHANDLE AS INTEGER
Next, create an array of pieces, and an array of piece kinds.
DIM PIECES(MAX_PIECES) AS PIECES_TYPE
DIM PIECE_KINDS(MAX_PIECE_KINDS) AS PIECE_KINDS_TYPE
Now, each time you create a piece, you can give it a reference to its "kind" which allows for easy expansion, as well as reducing storage redundancy.
Rem create the gun type
LOAD IMAGE "IMAGE OF GUN.PNG",1
So creating a piece in the editor would be as simple as:
Where the KIND field is a reference to the Kind created above. Using an ALIVE flag for pieces is an extremely easy way to delete/recycle pieces. For a point and click editor, this could be:
FOR N=0 TO MAX_PIECES
It really is that simple. The only thing omitted above is a simple flag to make sure that pieces are created only once per mouse click; otherwise every time you click you will create 5-20 pieces!
Consider perspective - while your editor is supposed to help you do things quickly, it should also help you produce higher quality levels in the final product. Try to make your editor's interface similar to the way your levels are going to be viewed. This is not quite as much of a problem in 2D as it is in 3D. This includes viewing the levels at a similar scale as they will ultimately be viewed at.
Make your shortcuts make sense! Keyboard shortcuts (or in the case of a simple, no-menu editor, only-cuts) are the easiest ways to add new functions to your editor. Matching letters on the keyboard to functions with the same names goes a tremendous way toward making the editor easier to use, with very little extra work (e.g. ‘n' to create a new level and ‘s' to save). This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is extremely easy to just move down the keyboard and add functions that way instead of making them make some sense.
Abbreviate code. the above example is much wordier than I usually code. Abbreviating words can save you more time than you think. Instead of ALIVE, I would say ON. Instead of KIND, I would just use K. Instead of IMAGEHANDLE, I would say "I." Then again you have to balance readability versus time it takes to produce the editor. Always keep that in mind.
Comment your work! This is a tip for any code you're doing, really. Commenting makes your code much easier to read, for you or anyone else who will ever use it. I go so far as to include comments like this:
This makes it a lot easier to find when I'm scrolling through the project.
The new and improved DB editor for Explosionade PC is a vast improvement over what I quickly coded together for the Xbox Live Indie Games version of Explosionade. That said, even the quick-n-easy level editor let us create amazingly more detailed levels than what we could have of reasonably hand-coded. We keep details of our game developments on our dev log, so you can see the progress on Explosionade PC. Stop by anytime! And next time you start slapping levels together in-code for your new, amazing game, consider taking a weekend and creating an editor instead!
Competition Update: If you haven't had chance to get an entry together, the deadline has been extended until June 15th.
In the spirit of Model Pack 54 and the 100th newsletter, it's now time for you to come up with a unique feature that is next to revolutionary for games, or at least for FPSC. You should record a video of the feature in action. Your feature doesn't have to work in FPSC right now, but you should be able to visually show it as if it is actually fully functional. This is not a competition about design, its a competition about thinking outside the box!
Your entry will be judged upon the following criteria:
Your entry should be uploaded to YouTube and posted as an integrated video in the thread, found in FPSC Chat, by no later than 15th June 23.59 GMT
This competition is not sponsored by either Steam or The Game Creators
This is a similar weapont to ErrantAI's P90 (Dual) but with silencers attached.
Includes VWEAP and pickup weapon and ammo entities. Uses model pack 9-10 compatible hands.
Includes some basic AirMod settings in gunspec. The recoil on the guns is extremely realistic! You can watch a video of the weapons in use here.
This elegant English Stately home is part of the Historic Pack. It can be purchased standalone from the store, or as a compete pack from the TGC website.
The pack includes many historical locations and a cast of famous characters including Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton. There is also a collection of other entities to populate your historic buildings.
Sometimes it's better to leave the heavy weaponry behind, and force your game players to fight their way out the hard way. Close encounters add to the adrenalin rush, and a simple baseball bat should be enough to give them the courage to survive as the battle ensues.
This weapon is exclusive to the player and cannot be used by NPCs.
Get all of your computer room beeps and alerts in one easy-to-implement soundtrack. The various random noises loop seamlessly and contribute a nice background to hi-tec rooms in your game levels.
All of the above models are available to purchase and download through the inbuilt Game Creator Store in FPS Creator and DBPro, and also using the standalone store for other game-making tools.
The Game Creators have teamed up with the leading providers of virtual currency; perform a few simple tasks and top up your Store points. As well as being able to take up exciting offers and receiving potentially thousands of points, there are a host of other tasks to earn rewards. Watch a movie trailer, rate search results, answer questions, tag photos or choose from a host of activities that will ultimately earn you any of the high quality models and resources to make your game shine.
Open the Store, through FPS Creator, DBPro or the standalone version. Log in to your account and select the Buy Points option. Below the regular payment options you'll find links to gWallet, Offerpal, DoubleDing and TrialPay. You'll immediately find yourself in amongst the tasks and offers available, and can start earning immediately by watching a movie trailer or two!
Did you know you can sell your models, segments, music and sky boxes in the Game Creator Store? We already have dozens of artists selling their media, and we welcome anyone with the talent to provide our community with quality assets to do the same. If you are interested in becoming a store seller, please contact Janet, our Store Administrator directly.
Last month we asked you to come up with something that 'Glows' and we allowed post-editing of your renders. The idea is to see what nifty Glowing effects you can use to bring your model to life. You can use special specular maps, UV maps, Textures, anything goes.
Starmind 001's entry is an effective example of how a simple scene can be made to invoke the imagination. Makes you wonder what is behind the silhouette of the robot sentry entering the doorway. Excellent glow and scene composition!
Josh Mooney's entry is another fine example of how a low poly model can look great. I like how he showed us the steps in making the model in his WIP thread. Excellent entry!
Iceman's entry is a good example of how a good rendering program can help to set the mood of a scene. The procedural texture in this entry is exquisite. In cases like this the choice to go with a procedural texture over a UV map is the right choice. Great render.
The accolades for the winners are retained until the next competition winners, and are as follows:
3DMaster - Champion awarded to the overall winner in the competition, an entry which displays both modeling and texturing excellence.
3DMaster - Best Model awarded to the runner up who demonstrates the finest modeling skills in the competition.
3DMaster - Best Texture awarded to the runner up who demonstrates texturing wizardry in the competition.
The awards will cling to your Avatar until the results of the following competition are announced. So to keep your award, you must defend your honour in battle once again!
Iguana-Entertainment have given Scraggle a job based on the games on his site, most of which are written in DBP. They were particularly impressed with 'Concentric' and he is now writing a game that is somewhere between Concentric and Bejewelled. Once its done they want it porting to iPad.
"Model Maker" is a content creator specially designed for FPSC X9 and allows you to import textures as segments and entities into your FPSC.
It's particulary of interest to anyone who wants to import his own content as quickly as possible, without having to manually type everything by hand.
Back in issue 94 we featured a Best Of The Best game by the name of Virus 2: The Breakout. This month you can read an interview with the author, Mark de Boer, and find out what makes him want to entertain us with his games.
Mark, tell us a bit about yourself and what your main interest is in game development.
When I was around 16 years old, I was really interested in making games, so I searched for an engine that was not hard to understand. That's how I found FPS Creator. I really like it because you don't have to program, this way I had more time to work on the levels; I really love to do level design and making 3d assets for games.
What are your thoughts on The Best of the Best as one of the award winners?
I like the way BOTB is going at the moment. Although it would be nice to see more promotion for BOTB. It is getting harder to be BOTB every time, which stimulates people to make their games even better.
After my game was elected BOTB, a Game making team approached me, and asked if I wanted to join their team as a texture and 3D artist. We are currently working on a commercial title in the unreal engine - thanks to BOTB!
Where do you see FPS Creator heading, and what would you like to see in a future version?
FPSC is getting better every day, not only the engine, but also the users. You see loads of users work together to make the engine better. FPSC is getting more recognition since it was announced. Loads of people thought it was just a game engine for kids, but I think that the community has proven this wrong. I hope that one day FPSC can handle more details, and maybe things like custom collision meshes.
Do you have any advice for developers wanting to become BOTB?
Keep practising; it is possible to reach the BOTB level. Don't be afraid to ask for critique or comments on your map, because in the end it will help you become a better game designer.
What are your future plans for game development in general?
Currently I'm working in 2 game making teams, and I'm working on my portfolio. One day I would like to work as a level designer, or 3D artist.
And your final words?
Enough talking, let's make some games!
"Awesome! Great to see FPSC being stretched even further" - Rick Vanner, The Game Creators
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