Editorial - July 2011

Issue 102 cover

There was a time when going casual referred to donning a T-shirt, denim jeans and trainers. These days it refers to games you can pick up and put down whenever you have a few minutes to idle between homework, office tasks or while waiting for a bus. I am a great fan of Angry Birds (although I've now completed it on Android, PC and Chrome) and always make sure I have a new casual game ready to pick and lose a few more minutes of my precious time. I even have some old classics such as Connect Four.

I've also found that creating Casual games is great fun. With limited features and focused controls, you can create an addictive little title in hours rather than weeks, months or years. They are also perfect for platforms such as AppUp, tablets and mobile devices. At the simplest level, your casual game can be something that plays in three or four minutes. At a higher level, it can be a progressive experience that is still played in just three or four minute sessions.

This month Rick Vanner brushes off his coding skills and immerses himself in his own casual game-making using AGK. We have news on a new platform that will make its way into version 1 of the AGK, making your casual games instantly accessible to another market of players. The AppUp section provides more insight into this avenue of marketing your creations, and we have a host of other newsworthy items for you to browse through - once you've put down those peskily addictive games!

Until next time,

Steve Vink


(1) Summer Deal (2) App Game Kit (3) AGK Ignites Creativity (4) FPSC News (5) DarkBASIC Pro (6) AC3D (7) TGC AppUp Dev Group (8) MP56 (9) TGC Store (10) FPSC Competitions (11) MeeGo (12) From the Forums (13) Winner

Hot Summer Deal

The Game Creators Hot Summer Deal 2011

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!

The following titles are included:

Summer DealThis deal, along with all of the details, can be found on The Game Creators website.

Free Your Apps - AGK Magic

App Game Kit - Coming Soon

Our beta team are currently being fed the latest updates to the AGK and noticing vast leaps in evey version. Not only is the core product taking shape with every release, but so too are the examples of the various command groups, and the documentation.

The help files are in HTML format, and encompass both the AGK native language and C++ commands all in one. In fact you can compare the syntax of both languages at the click of a button. You can also print the formatted help page directly from the browser.

AGK Helpfiles
The new Help File format

MeeGo is All-Systems Go

The progression of MeeGo as a supported platform has been accelerated and will almost certainly now be included as one of five platforms in version 1. This is being implemented with the assistance of Intel; as you will hear later in the newsletter Lee has been at the MeeGo conference in San Francisco in the last month. This means that your apps and games could be seen on televisions, tablets and perhaps on your in-car entertainment system!

The command sets for Windows, iOS, Mac OS, and Samsung Bada are now complete. MeeGo is close to completion at the time of writing. The compiler is also reaching completion and we are happy to report that the all-important help and documentation are progressing at the same rate and in tandem with the software.

Beta Testing videos

We have a number of videos for you to review of the beta testing progress. They show a number of facets of the language and features you can embed simply and with very little coding involved. Of course all of these features run on every supported device.

Space Game: In this demo you can see an AGK game running on an iPad2. The game is scaled to the correct size for the iPad; it features sprites, particles, scrolling, sound and virtual joystick support.


Multiplayer: Here you can see the multiplayer demo hosted on a netbook. The iPad2 is then used to join the game session started by the netbook version. Then the control of the casino chip on the netbook is broadcast live to the iPad2 session.

Particles: This demo shows particles being created in just a dozen or so lines. These lines create a very complex effect, with a radiating glow surrounded by a misty aura.

Physics:A small demo showing how Box 2D physics can be called from within AGK. Different sized sprites supported by the physics engine drop, crash and tumble around the screen.



Main Features

App Game KitThe 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/

Follow AGK Development On Facebook

AGK on FacebookYou can now keep abreast of progress of AGK via Facebook. Sign up to the AGK Group and receive notification direct to your Facebook wall and email inbox as soon as it is posted.

The latest updates include the videos above and Rick's progression on his Snake remake. The core team developing AGK are all contributing to this page so you'll receive accurate answers from the guys in the know!

You can sign up and join in the discussions in the AGK Facebook group here.

How App Game Kit has Reignited the Fire of Creativity

by Rick Vanner

About twenty three years ago my programming career came to an abrupt halt. I had been working as a programmer for a UK multimedia publisher called Europress when I was promoted to the role of project manager. I was 21 years old and felt honoured to be managing projects rather than coding them. It was a nice change, allowing me to see a bigger picture and not stuck with my head in coding issues. Part of me was still a coder though and at times I really missed the challenge of coding and the satisfaction of making things come to life on the screen.

Years passed, projects were released and I grew more grey hairs as time relentlessly took its toll. Even while working on Dark Basic and Dark Basic Pro I avoided turning back the years to do a little bit of coding.

Fishing FunThen this year came the App Game Kit. I still knew enough to get started in BASIC and with AGK being 2D based it was not as daunting as a 3D project. So I told the team I'd be testing AGK by remaking a fishing game that I once wrote on the Atari 8 bit computer some 30 years ago. In just a few evenings I had the whole game up and running. It was the start of a reawakening of my programming life! Here's a picture of it (it's pretty terrible but it worked);

Spurred on by the fishing fun success I decided I wanted to make a version of the classic snake game. While this might seem a simple game to many coders it was the ideal type of game to help me remember the techniques from the past. AGK made it all so simple for me, from the loading of images and preparation of sprites to the easy commands for grabbing the input of the user.

For snake I decided to use a scale system to ensure I could easily change the game by just modifying a few values. Here's some code to illustrate how simple it is;

for i=1 to 100
SetSpriteSize (i,scaler,-1)
next i

Snake Game in AGKThe code creates 100 segments for the snake. It's a fast moving snake and so the player is unlikely to exceed that size. The first command CreateSprite(i,2) makes each sprite with the image previously loaded in image ID number 2. Then the scale of the sprite is set to use scaler which is 20 in my game. I use a value of -1 for the Y parameter which tells AGK to keep the aspect ratio of the sprite correct. Finally, I'm moving all these sprites off screen to -50,-50. They will be used later when I need them for drawing the snake.

Elsewhere in the game I change the image used by the snake segments to draw them to the screen;

SetSpriteImage(iSpriteIndex, iImageIndex, bUpdateShape)

Luckily I'm finding plenty of time at present to use AGK and I'm having a real blast with it. The best part is knowing that when my game is complete I can roll it out to multiple app stores without having to learn all that tricky stuff!

You can follow my progress on Snake as I post images and videos on the App Game Kit Facebook group.

Rick Vanner
Co-Founder of The Game Creators Ltd

Stop Press! As we release the newsletter, Rick releases a video of his remake, quickly turned around in the last week and with some impressive new graphics. Watch the video to hear about the way this rapid transformation took place, and immediately played across multiple platforms.

FPS Creator Updates - V118

FPS Creator News

As of June 6, FPSC V118 went public. For anyone checking updates automatically, it will have already appeared and made itself available for download.

In order to chase down any remaining issues that might be hiding in V118, we encourage you to start using this version and report any obscure behaviours to us. Lee Bamber will start up a new V119 beta soon to catch and crush any bugs that might still be scurrying about. google CodeRemember to use the Google Code Issues Board to report your bugs, and also try to get the bug confirmed by another member so when we pour through the reports we can reproduce them and fix them quickly for V119. We are sure there will be a few remaining issues with V118, and reproducing them will be the key to having them solved for V119. Thanks to everyone who has helped confirm the bugs on the issues board and for posting your experiences with the beta here. An FPSC modder has kindly volunteered some of his time to go through the issues board to reproduce the remaining issues so if you have anything else to report on V118, please read the issues already reported and post if you have something new (and reproducible). Good luck with your creations!

"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!"

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:

Take advantage of the Gallery

Have you created something in V118 that visually was not possible in previous versions? Why not post it in the Gallery, and email us the link. You can promote your game by including the YouTube video and link to your WIP or Program Announcement in the forums. If we see something stunning, we may feature it in the newsletter.

Special Offer while Stocks Last - $29.99, Save Over $150.00!

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

DarkBASIC Professional News

DarkBASIC Professional

Lee Bamber is TweetingEverything 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.

Green Ear comes to a Close

As the Green Ear service closes its doors to new customers, so too does the partnership and deals through The Games Creators website. Anyone using this service can still do so, although their website does not put a date on the final dates that it will run to.

The company is developing new technology and we look forward to seeing - or perhaps hearing - their next products.

Dark Game Studio Bonanza


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:

Order Now

Order the BonanzaSave 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.

Free Products from The Game Creators
FPS Creator   -   DarkBASIC   -   2000 Store Points

DarkGDK Setup for Visual C++ 2010

Daniel Foreman has created a video tutorial to assist in installing DarkGDK for use with Visual C++ 2010. It includes all of the links you need to install the various components, and a PDF file accompanies the video with the required information.


New Release of AC3D

AC3D Update

AC3D is an easy-to-use, powerful and affordable 3D modelling package. Perfectly suited to creating in-game objects and characters.  Version 6.8 is now released, and is available to purchase from The Game Creators' website. The new version includes the following enhancements:

AC3D now imports Collada modelsAC3D Web pageYou can visit the TGC web page for full details and to purchase AC3D, as well as download the 14 day trial version. Anyone who has purchased AC3D since December 2008 can upgrade to this version free of charge.

What is AC3D

For those of you that are new to AC3D, here is a brief summary of the many powerful features of this 3D modeling package. AC3D is based on a simple, intuitive 'click and drag' user interface, encompasses fast subdivision surface modeling, has inbuilt texture editing functionality and supports numerous 3D file formats.


AC3D Web pageThis is just an overview of the many features available. Download the trial version to sample the vast capabilities of this tool now.

AppUp - New Look, And Growing Stronger

TGC AppUp Developers Group  

by Steven Holding

Over the last few days the AppUp Dark Basic Professional Developers Group has become TGC AppUp Developers Group. The main reason for this small but fundamental change is that we didn't want the group to be ignored by DarkGDK or in the near future AGK users. The majority of the process of getting a game on AppUp is the same for any language and we thought the experience we have as a group should be more accessible to people who use other TGC products.

Along with the change of name we ran a small and impromptu competition for a new ‘banner' design, the winner can be seen above and was designed by Chris Van Wijmeersch (aka. TheSlayer). There were a number of other noteworthy entries most of  which can be seen below by Deathead, Juney, Hodgey, TheSlayer and myself.

All Banner Entries

Code Signing comes to AppUp

This month will see the introduction of "Code Signing" on AppUp. For those (like myself) who until now were unfamiliar with the term it is when an outside body verifies the authenticity and security of your coding and if they are happy you get a digital ‘certificate' which can be attached to your executables. This does not come cheap and can cost as much as $500 from some Certifying Authorities (CA's) but there are also some cheaper options available. Currently the cheapest one we have found is around $80 per year but this has not been confirmed yet.

As a group we have petitioned Intel to allow all new developers a free certificate for the first year to give them a chance to create enough revenue to cover the cost of the certificate for the next year and we hope to hear back from Intel regarding this soon.

Fortunately for the first year (starting from 18th July 2011) it will be possible for existing AppUp developers to get a free certificate from Intel, but you must already be a member of the AppUp Developer Program!

This opportunity will give anyone who takes advantage of it the chance to get certified for all of their software for a year essentially for free so I would urge anyone interested in AppUp to move quickly! Additionally if you are thinking of buying AGK when it is released then this is a vitally important opportunity.

AppUp Developers Guide

AppUp GuideFinally I have an early version of the "AppUp Developers Guide" I have been writing available to download from the first post in our forum thread.

It is fairly basic at the moment but it does cover the majority of the information you need to know as an AppUp developer, whatever TGC language you are coding in. If you are interested please feel free to point out any errors, suggest some new content or just come and say hello on our forum thread!

Model Pack 56 - Warlocked

Warlockeed Model Pack for FPS Creator

This model pack features media for use in maps locked in war and its aftermath. The included media is aimed towards both single player and multi player maps. With entities including:

Create a base / secure village with the included barriers, walls, watch towers, walkways, bridges and more. Combine with the trench and bunker system to build a complete war torn multi-level map for your player(s) to survive.

MP56Get the full details and purchase Model Pack 56 - Warlocked - from The Game Creators website now.

The Game Creator Store - Updates and New Additions

The Game Creator Store 

New Store Additions

Fungar Minion 3D Low Poly ModelFungar Minion

This creature is the drone caste of the Fungar species. 

Its primary function is to tend the land and protect the territory they inhabit.

Although unintelligent, this creature is very aggressive and will attack all intruders on sight without pause or concern for its own welfare.

You have been warned!

Pumper 3D animated Model for FPS GamesPumper

Here are six animated models which are the height of 1 standard room segment in FPSC. There are two texture variations which both have three degrees of animation speed.

The models are a kind of 'pumping drill' type structure which should add interest to any 'steampunk' type of scene.

3D Ticking Metronome modelMetronome

Here is a animated metronome model which will start to move when the player is close to it and which will stop when the player moves away from it.

Sometimes it is the simplest of items that can add an eery mood to a scene. Why would a ticking Metronome be found in an abandoned mansion?

Building Models for 3D Game developmentBuildings

Model pack 36 contains a host of buildings and other urban features. This image is three of those buildings, which can be purchased separately through the store, or as a complete pack though the website.

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.

Pick up free Store Points

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!

Upload Your Assets to The Game Creator Store

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.

I Can't Believe it's FPSC

Competition Banner

by Joakim Olsson (Cyborg Art)

The "I can't believe its FPSC!" contest is now over, and there were lots of great entries that show just what FPSC is capable of. Hopefully the videos submitted to the contest will inspire other users to think outside the box. Being a contest, there is also a winner!

One of the judges wrote; "It looks like first person Silent Hill meets Penumbra/Amnesia, and it's certainly a winning combination. The system is well implemented and pretty well polished, complete with graphical cues to indicate the player's actions and respond with the appropriate, logical action. Great job! Can I believe it's FPSC? Apart from the default HUD lingering in the top-left corner, I'd say it would be very hard to tell that this was an FPSC product, if implemented in a bigger game with the same attention to detail as demonstrated in the video's elements. Once again, excellent work!"

As you may have guessed, the winner of the very first "I can't believe its FPSC" contest is Rolfy. With his Interactive Point and Click system he shows that FPSC is capable of so much more than a run'n'gun FPS.


Congratulations Rolfy! But the gentleman that he is, he has stated that he wants to pass any prizes he wins to other worthy entrants. So now we also have a third place as well as the planned first and second positions.

The second winner has shown, in a very nice presentation, that it is very possible to create games that FPSC is not intended for. It has been extremely hard for the judges since two entries are quite similliar, but one of the entries just edged into the lead. The second winner, and in this case the first prize from the prizelist (Steam games / add ons of your choice for a total value of €28, TGC voucher worth $20), is Omegamer for the Scifi Silent Hill style of mechanics.

The third winner has shown that lights can be used for more than just lighting up an area. With awesome use of shadows, uzi idiot takes the third place and prize (A TGC voucher worth $10). Congratulations to all the winners!

I would also like to give 2Beastmode4u a special prize since he was so close, with an entry similiar to Omegamer. He will get the "Great Minds Think Alike" prize, a  $10 TGC voucher.


Finally I would like to thank everyone that has participated, and I hope there will be more contests like this in the near future. You can see all the entries in the contest thread

Have a great summer!

Defy The Odds - End of Year 2011

Defy The Odds FPS Competition 

As one competition ends, so another begins. Forum Member Defy is running a contest open to any FPSC developer using FPSC x9/x10/Modded. Developers are welcome to enter a submission they have already been working on since the end of last year (refer to the rules section). We're looking for the experimental, the commercial, the finished and unfinished, the polished and the unpolished. All we really ask is that it's playable.

The concept is for FPSC game developers to produce a demo, mini-game or a full release game consisting of a 1 level demo/game to any amount of levels that you intend for your released game. There is no genre requirement, so you can submit any style of game and/or any section from your game if wish. The choice is yours.

Entries will be judged equal. A small, well-thought out single level game/demo, can be just as good as a multiple leveled game. Also of note; this thread will be followed by KeithC for possible BOTB Candidates.

There are over $250USD in TGC-sponsored prizes, plus numerous other additions, including a made-to-order FPSC Weapon, built by Errant AI. Prizes cover various aspects including design, audio, visual and technical excellence.

Defy The Odds CompetitionFor the full rules, prize details and judging criteria, check out the forum thread. Closing date is 5th December 2011; However there are WIP pre-requisites so read through the details today and prepare for the long but thrilling road to the deadline!

On Your Behalf, Lee Visits...

MeeGo Conference 2011

By Lee Bamber.

You will be pleased to learn that once more, on behalf of newsletter readers everywhere, Lee subjected himself once more to a developer conference to bring you juicy news from around the globe. Overcoming such hardships as the unending availability of beer and the endless waves of technology gossip, he returns battered and bursting to reveal all.

MeeGo Conference 2011The conference was the San Francisco venue of the 2011 MeeGo Conference, the much anticipated sequel to the first conference that was held in Dublin last year. The attendance was higher than expected, and attracted developers from all walks of life eager to learn MeeGo secrets.

As a brief aside, MeeGo is a new Operating system designed not for a single device, but for a range of devices from small mobile phones to large desktop experiences. Cool technology such as tablets, TV's and in-car entertainment systems can all be powered by MeeGo and hardware is starting to pop-up supporting this new OS. TGC is interested in MeeGo because we are supporting this cool new OS in our AGK (www.appgamekit.com) product due in the next few months.

We could go into marvellous details about how easy it is to get developing with MeeGo, the cool decisions that have been made to ensure MeeGo is lightweight, very capable and ready for a multitude of implementations, but we won't. By waiting a few months, AGK will wrap all this learning up in an extremely easy to use product allowing you to instantly create MeeGo apps without even realising it!

What we would like to highlight is the social side of development, and the places it can take you. What one person may interpret as an isolated and anti-social occupation is actually a portal to a whole world of friends you never knew you had. Subjects that provoke glazed expressions from your family and friends become the normal mode of communication during a developer conference. Imagine a thousand people who all share a knowledge of common technical terms and follow concepts and streams of thought with you.

Conferences can be expensive and time consuming if you have to MeeGo Conferencefly half way around the world, but these days conferences come to you. Whether you are in Asia, Europe or the US, you will find you're not too far from three or four conferences a year that directly relate to you. These are opportunities not only to learn new things, but to become inspired. It's like charging up your batteries, preparing you for whatever the future may bring.

Our tips for choosing a great conference are to look out for one that lasts more than one day, so you can really get absorbed into the event. Select one that schedules a huge party on the second day, so you can switch the brain off and party all night with everyone you've met. Finally, select one that's relevant to the project you are currently working on, so you have lots of questions the moment you hit the event.

Most of all, dance sensibly. Being a developer, there's such a thing as having too much fun!

From the Forums

2.5D Fighting Game

New community member Dimis has made an impressive entrance with some beautifully artistic screen shots of his upcoming 2.5D fighting game, in the style of Mortal Kombat. You'll also find videos of some of the action, looking very reminiscent of the original fighter games.

XML Plugin for DBPro

Heres a new XML plugin for DBPro. It allows you to load, read, edit and save XML files. No external plugins needed.

You can use XML files to store map data in a structured way, saving everything from game configuration to high scores.


Monthly Newsletter Winner - $100 voucher up for grabs every month!

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"I have no fear of losing my life - if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it."

Steve Irwin