If you’ve ever doubted that your decision to become a software developer was the right one, rest assured you are currently part of one of the largest economies on the planet. Let's start with a pleasing set of numbers; there was $133 billion dollars in revenue from app sales last year and that is only accounting revenue from just two mobile app stores. Factor in sales of all the other platforms and verticals and you stroll effortlessly into a trillion-dollar marketplace. Even the seasonal Black Friday event clocked up a record $9 billion plus change in sales this year! The pundits all agree these figures are only set to increase as more consumers move more of their lifestyles to the digital economy.
The reason you made the right decision is that all of the above successes could not have been created in the first place if it was not for people like you - the creators who had a cool idea and forged it into reality for the benefit of everyone. Your toolbox of skills is, in fact, a very valuable set of keys that can unlock as much potential opportunity as you can handle, and versatile enough to adapt quickly to the ever changing and growing landscape.
In the age of stone, you are not just playing around with the idea of bronze, you are making intricate little figurines of iron to impress your friends, and by a happy happenstance, building the next generation of technology, brick by digital brick ?
This time, we're keeping it simple. We're asking you to create a game with a Wintery or Festive theme made with AppGameKit Classic or AppGameKit Studio., Entries will be judged on one thing only, is the game FUN!
You can read more about the jam and get involved here
Last month we also ran a small Halloween game jam and want to say a big thanks to everyone who entered. Congratulations to Heavens for winning 1st place with Camp Spooky, and to Josephb1 who came second with Spectral Energy Challenge. Both won a small prize contributed by our great community.
Since the release of GameGuru Classic over seven years ago the continual support both from our internal development team and the community have produced a game-maker that can take most of your game ideas and turn them into reality, and, has been our custom, enable you to share and sell your creations to one day become a full time games developer. We are very pleased to have contributed in a small way to this, and it is great to see this Classic game-maker continue to be supported by its enthusiastic community.
Right now there are only a small handful of outstanding issues reported and, as is also our custom, we are planning an update to resolve those before the end of the year. If you have any issues of your own when using GameGuru Classic, please do not hesitate to post them in our GitHub Issues Board and mark them down as a bug so our team can look into resolving them before the next public release.
Leaving bug fixes aside for a moment, we are also very excited to have released a significant community contribution of the previously hinted at NEW sky system that introduces procedural sky, day/night cycles and a whole host of cool new sky effects to add to your games. We covered this in one of our recent live broadcasts so check that out if you want the juicy details and once again a BIG thanks to Cybernescence for contributing this feature to the GameGuru Classic community.
As always – you can join us for our YouTube live broadcast every Wednesday at 7pm GMT/2pm EST/10am PST for the latest news about both GameGuru Classic and GameGuru MAX and join in the live chat with the dev team!
The big effort in the last month has been the conversion to the very latest version of the Wicked Engine system and it is certainly testing the metal of our development team. The changes required are significant and so to keep the GameGuru MAX updates coming we have been busy on a parallel line of development to fix some key issues reported in the issues board and moving forward our support for the RPG genre. This work has been divided into background tasks to provide the behaviour logic and foreground tasks to enable the control of the visible UI of your RPG game via an improved Screen Editor system. We very much look forward to revealing more on this soon and plan a series of updates running up to Christmas so you can start planning out and testing your RPG game ideas.
We are also working with third party artists on a few DLC ideas including a Wasteland Workshop and Wasteland Weapons! There is an excellent chance we will get these released before the Christmas holidays so keep an eye out them ?
Finally, for those interested in contributing to the game engine at a deeper level, we will be updating the GitHub repository soon so you can get access to the latest source code to build your own variants of the latest builds and even submit features that may one day be part of the official product.
Thanks for your continued support and we look forward to revealing cool new features for you to enjoy during your break from the rat race ;-)
This month we talk to Zdeněk Šimek, aka zxretrosoft and Pontifex.Digital from the Czech Republic.
As a kid Zdeněk was into electronics and digital technology and went on to study electrical engineering, then logic, and then got a master’s degree in information technology. He now works as a programmer, concentrating on Lua programming. In Lua he works on artificial intelligence, machine learning, data modelling, linear programming, genetic algorithms and simplex algorithms – with a self-confessed passion for complicated optimization problems and, in his free time, he gives most of his attention to AppGameKit.
Zdeněk’s favourite development environment is AppGameKit Classic and according to the Steam counter, he has spent almost 6000 hours in it ?
Zdeněk tells us more: “As the principles of Lua and AGK Script are very close what I do in AppGameKit I can easily transfer to Lua and vice versa. Specifically, I can implement both genetic and simplex algorithms in AppGameKit. I develop games and applications that allow me to learn better methods and ways of programming. At the same time, I get feedback from users who test the AI and see how good it is and where its reserves are. AI libraries are universal, so the same ones from AppGameKit can be used in Lua or other languages. It's a kind of symbiosis of gaming and serious stuff.
I've always taken it to mean that everything I do is meaningful. Even on small things or even unfinished, unsuccessful things you gain experience. You can't learn AI algorithms too systematically or pragmatically, you have to experiment, make a little nonsense and missteps, be a bit of a rebel. Those who proceed too textbook-like will get at most ordinary results.
As for games. I have started developing small games, ideally non-violent, logic and board games. First on 8-bits in Basic (mainly Didaktik Gama, which was a Czechoslovak clone of ZX Spectrum) and later on 16-bits (Amiga). Today, I am trying to create the best universal engine for logic games in AppGameKit. The last classic board games of this year 2022 are ‘Logaterix’ and the puzzle game ‘Axitomix’. Both games are already in the same engine and are available ONLINE and for PC. Both, I believe, show the progress that has been made in AppGameKit and not only in the gameplay mechanics, but in the AI in particular, which is what I'm all about.
‘Logaterix’ is an ancient board game (in Old Czech 'Posunčík') in which the player is up against an artificial intelligence that has learned the game entirely on its own. All it had were the rules and a functional board. The genetic algorithm tried to play the game against itself and reached a certain level in it. Without a programmer telling it what to do, what to look out for or what the strategy should look like. So you can imagine something like Google's AlphaZero, but on a smaller scale.
The puzzle game ‘Axitomix’ works with the well-known optimization problem that you can only move an element to the last free square in the chosen direction, which is the only rule this game has. In ‘Axitomix’ the player can draw any shape he wants and the AI will create a solvable scene for that shape. That's both its charm and its unique purpose. This is because it is very difficult to invent with the human brain, so either the AI invents itself an infinite number of logic problems that have solutions, or it generates them based on your wishes, i.e. your shape. This requires the use of several advanced algorithms, and as far as I know, games of this type usually can't do such things.
I always try to create an ambivalent impression in the player, that is, to make a logic problem look trivial at first glance but is actually difficult. Or that the board game has a minimum of rules, looks simple and can be understood in 5 minutes, but has immense combinatorial possibilities.
In the future, I want to continue to develop AI and deploy it in other games and products. The challenge for me is, for example, to develop a good chess algorithm. All my products are free, ad-free and completely independent. For me, it is a success if it reaches as many people as possible and I, in turn, receive the widest possible feedback and can permanently improve my algorithms or create new ones. I now have over 30 apps on the market. The number of downloads is in the order of tens of thousands for some products and together they have already exceeded 200,000 users.
I welcome the fact that AppGameKit is multi-platform but in the future I would like to see TheGameCreators focus more on the online platform and improve it, as I am convinced that the online platform will become more and more dominant. Alternatively, they could expand their platform portfolio even further.”
All of Zdeněk’s games and products are available here on his website