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Editorial - September 2012

Issue 115 cover

Freedom is something many of us are fortunate to have in abundance, economically, physically and in many other ways. It's also something we demand in games. I remember the launch of one of my all-time favourite games; Carmageddon. Taking racing games such as Pole Position and Out Run off the track and into a free-to-roam environment was an incredible experience. Not only did the environment become free, but the rules - or lack of them - did too. Annihilating the opposition (or some of you may recall other more gruesome strategies) was just as valid as crossing the line first.

In other genres, simple paths in games like Kings Quest (technically a CRPG), with their fixed sequence and solutions to puzzles gave way ultimately to the likes of World of Warcraft (an MMORPG). From single player, linear quests we progressed to vast realms where you and thousands like you have the freedom to walk, run, fight, trade, construct and destruct wherever and however you like. Each time the outcome can differ, if you can actually reproduce the same scenario twice in succession.

Freedom now comes in another form, and that form is Freedom Engine. You'll read about the finer details later in this newsletter, but it is fair to say that freedom has arrived for games programming in a new guise. It encompasses freedom to program, freedom to publish, freedom from financial constraints and most importantly of all, the freedom to unleash your creativity and convert it to reality.

Alongside the headline act we have numerous new games to report on, from the realms of AGK, DarkBASIC Professional and FPS Creator. You can also catch up on the first three weeks of the Ultimate Coder Challenge, as well as all of the regular features.

Until next time,

Steve Vink 



(1) Freedom Engine (2) FE Q&A (3) DBP (4) Ultimate Coder (5) Carnage (6) Survivalism (7) FPSC News (8) Mix Mix (9) App Developers Group (10) Retro Racing (11) IDF 2012 (12) Space Dust (13) From the Forums (14) Facebook (15) The Game Creators News

Freedom For All!


Freedom Engine Supercharges Game Development for Ultrabooks and Smartphones

Game developers around the world will soon have an online outlet for their creativity and ingenuity regardless of their financial resources. Launching in beta form on September 12th, Freedom Engine promises to provide a full suite of development tools combined with an easy-to-use scripting language that will allow developers of all abilities the freedom to create virtually any game they desire and deploy their creation across a variety of platforms at no cost. The online toolkit will be featured at this year’s Intel Developer Forum taking place September 11-13 in San Francisco.

Freedom Engine


“There are literally millions of passionate game developers all around the world yearning for a way to bring their ideas to life,” explains Lee Bamber, CEO of Freedom Engine, LTD. “Freedom Engine offers everyone, regardless of their financial resources, an opportunity to create and deploy the fantastic concepts they’ve been dreaming up and share them across social media. In particular, we want to give indie and hobbyist developers the deployment resources they’ve always felt were out of their reach.”

"Freedom Engine offers everyone, regardless of their financial resources, an opportunity to create and deploy the fantastic concepts they’ve been dreaming up and share them across social media"
Lee Bamber  

Freedom Engine includes all the building blocks developers need to create fully immersive games. Sprites, sound effects, music, collision detection and 3-D commands are all available in this beta release, with 3-d physics to be added at a later date. These tools are accessible via a scripting language specifically designed to give developers the power they need to create truly complex titles, and the simplicity to make coding a snap.

“It’s also an honor and a privilege to present our platform for consideration at the Intel Developer Forum,” Bamber continues. “We truly believe Freedom Engine has the potential to change the way games are developed today, and we can’t wait to share this concept with the broader development community.”

With Freedom Engine, development and deployment is a startlingly simple process. Users merely navigate to http://www.freedom-engine.com/ in any WebGL-enabled browser like Chrome or Firefox, register, and start coding. When they would like a preview of their efforts to date, they simply press Play to view their game in a preview window. They can then continue coding or deploy their creation  to multiple platforms. Only HTML 5 is supported in this beta release, but deployment to Windows, Android iOS and Mac will be added in the coming weeks and months.

Windows Freedom Engine apps will take full advantage of the Ultrabook feature set. This includes support for all Ultrabook sensors such as the gyroscope, accelerometer, compass and ambient light sensor. In addition, developers and players can make full use of multi-touch touchscreens under the Windows 8 operating system. Multicore Box 2D physics, 3D commands, and DirectX 11 custom shader support will give developers the power and precision to create stunningly realistic gameplay environments.

Developers may create and deploy titles on Freedom Engine at no cost. 10 megabytes of storage is included free of charge. 250 megabytes of storage is available for a monthly fee of $5 USD. To learn more and sign up for an account from September 12, visit: http://freedom-engine.com/


Freedom Engine Q&A


We have anticipated many of the questions you may want to ask about Freedom Engine, and have presented them here for you.

Freedom Engine Q&A

What is Freedom Engine?

Freedom Engine is a cloud based, cross-platform development solution, which we feel will redefine the way apps are created and deployed. It's a free to use service that allows developers to program game apps that work across a range of modern device platforms.

It's Free to Use ?

Yes, we provide 10 megabytes of free storage for your online projects. That's enough for thousands of lines of programming code. More advanced projects will use this space for resources such as images, sounds and other media.

What if I need more space?

Should you need more than the 10 megabytes of online storage space then you can upgrade to a Gold subscription which offers 250 megabytes of storage space.

Freedom Engine stores my projects?

Yes, it's Code in the Cloud. Access your projects from anywhere, just log-in and continue coding.

Where do I get Freedom Engine?

Freedom Engine incorporates a web-based IDE, a highly integrated editor for coding and media asset management. If you have a browser within reach, then Freedom Engine is also within reach.

Which browsers can I use?

Freedom Engine requires a modern browser with Web GL capabilities. So Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are perfect for the job.

Can I program cross-platform too? E.g code on a Mac, iPad or Android tablet?

Currently you will need a desktop or laptop device to use Freedom Engine. In the not so distant future we will want users to be able to code on their tablet devices. HTML5

What exactly is Cross-Platform development?

Your games will work online in HTML5 or natively on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. Code your game just once, and deploy to all platforms. The competitive advantage is saturation of your game across multiple markets.

How does Freedom Engine make game-making easier?

You have a host of easy to use gaming commands at your disposal. There are specific command sets for Sprites, 3D, sound, music, collision, input and more. You don't need to know how the hardware works, Freedom Engine already has the knowledge.

How easy is Freedom Engine to learn.

Everyone can learn this easy to code scripting language. You code in BASIC, the simplest of languages to get to grips with, whilst Freedom Engine optimises and translates your code to highly efficient, native functionality. Complex physics, mathematical algorithms and multi-core processing are at the heart of Freedom Engine, exposed to the programmer as simple commands.

Can I import AGK projects?

Freedom Engine is essentially an online version of AGK. A large majority of AGK commands have been made to work in Freedom Engine but not all at release. The essentials like sprites, sound, box 2D are all in and working and we’ll make it clear which commands are currently not supported in this beta test phase.

Can I export to AGK?

We will be offering a download option. So all your source files and media can be exported and backed up. These projects should all work fine in AGK.

Can I have multi-user projects?

Not at present. We did play around with this idea but decided it was too complex for the first release. It’s something we aim to integrate in the future.

How do I deploy my project to the various platforms?

Over the coming weeks and months we aim to provide easy to use export options for the platforms we are supporting. So for iPhone we aim to allow you to export a .ipa file, for Android a .apk file etc. So it’s then just a case of using the appropriate submission systems for the platforms you want to publish on.

Can I download the compiled project locally, or just to the player?

Freedom Engine does all the work locally when it compiles and plays your apps, we avoid using the server where we can. At any point you can also deploy your project and part of this deployment process allows you to export the app as a back-up zip file or a windows/mac project or as a packaged file for mobile distribution.

How does FE tie in with AGK? Will they be in sync?

Freedom Engine is very much AGK in new clothes. We don’t feel FE replaces AGK, it’s a new type of service that will appeal to a different demographic. So developers will want to stay with AGK as an offline system, others will love the new online paradigm. A single code base produces both AGK and FE engines, so fixes and features in one benefit the other.

Who are the FE team?

FE has been very much a huge team effort. Lee Bamber has coded the compiler and HTLM5 player system (no mean feat). Paul Johnson has championed the core platform commands across all devices and Dave developed the online IDE from scratch. Mike has helped with testing and documentation.

Is Freedom Engine the first online development tool of its kind?

There are other systems out there but none of them offer the tight integration and focus on mobile gaming as Freedom Engine. 

DarkBASIC Professional

DarkBASIC Professional

Lee Bamber on Twitter

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.


Dark Game Studio Bonanza


This highly popular Special offer is still available to you, proving to be the best package deal we've ever created: Dark Game Studio, Dark Physics, Dark Lights, Dark AI, Extends and a whole lot more 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:

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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.

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The Ultimate Coder: Ultrabook™ Challenge

Intel Ultrabook Ultimate Challenger

The Ultimate Coder: UltrabookTM Challenge, has officially kicked off, where six developers compete head to head to code apps for next generation Ultrabooks. Lee Bamber and TGC have been invited to take part, and are blogging their progress each week. Here is the profile laid out on the Intel challenge website:

Lee is building an app from scratch for a UK confectionery company that sells a well-known brand of candy called Love Hearts. The sweets are popular with young female teens and working women, so the app will appeal to those demographics with daily prizes, including games, extra messaging features and ideas for what to send loved ones. Lee and the TGC team will create the app using AGK, their proprietary development framework. To engage female Ultrabook buyers, TGC plans to add Ultrabook features to the PC-version of AGK so it will perform far better than other standard apps.

Extra Tools for AGK

The good news for AGK developers is that the language will be pushed to the limits and beyond, as additional features are implemented to rise to the challenge.

You can support The Game Creators throughout the competition by engaging in the "Who's Rocking it this Week" poll on the challenge website. Here is a summary of the challenge so far, with links to the official blog and the judges responses:



Week One: The concept, The Team, The Ambition

When Intel asked me to write an app, in just six weeks, with a mission to tap into every facet of a next generation pre-production Ultrabook, I started to giggle.
Lee Bamber

In week one, Lee has posted details of the team, the design phase, and the thoughts behind the prototyping of Love Hearts ®, the ambitious attempt to combine social messaging and gaming into a single fun and surprising experience.

Here is what some of the judges have had to say on the progress in week one:

“Prepare yourself for a journey into the wonderful world of the software developer.” says Lee Bamber of the Game Creators. His dedicated blog is here and introduces his ideas, the technology, the development kit, the ‘drop dead gorgeous’ Ultrabook, the app design and development methodology. Lee will be developing on the Ultrabook itself. I like Lee’s openness. The coders have a lot to gain by winning but I want them to share their methodologies with the readers as much as possible so we can all learn and benefit. The more developers that are inspired to write applications for Ultrabooks through this competition, the better it will be for everyone.

Steve Paine

I am expecting, and maybe hoping, the veneer of gentile competitiveness to fall away quickly and settle down to a nice exciting game of psych. Lee, for example already has an app-in-a-box application that will enable him to write his apps in Basic and target 7 different platforms. He’s using Basic. To write the ultimate app on the ultimate notebook in front of millions of developers. You can see the sorts of mind games that have already started.

Chris Maunder


Week Two: Tailoring the App Experience to The Ultrabook Experience

Love Hearts messagesIn week two, Lee has posted some exciting details of the Love Hearts ® app itself. We can see how it will include seamless linking to Facebook and Twitter, amongst other personal networks. Taking rewards to the extreme, the app will shower the users with a whole range of goodies that can be kept or shared. Children of the seventies and eighties will realise that the concept of revealing your admiration through sweets has made an ingenious transition to the world of the twenty first century youth...and adults still young at heart.

I should be able to operate the app entirely from the touch screen, swiping and touching my way through every feature. If my keyboard fell off tomorrow, my app should carry on regardless.
Lee Bamber

Lee is tailoring the experience to the Ultrabook features, which will ultimately benefit the numerous other platforms available through AGK.

The touch screen will be used to maximum potential, with "tap to unwrap" being the principal method of progressing through the various gifts. There is a great deal of thought going into the implementation of the Ultrabook sensors, to make sure they are functional rather than there "just because we can".

Judge Chris Maunder has picked up on the major technical hurdle uncovered this week:

I am a little worried, but also grinning a big grin, when he discusses a major issue with Windows 8: a Metro style app cannot use OpenGL. So he's going to write his own OpenGL library in DirectX 11. That's so awesome."

Chris Maunder

Week 3: Windows in Dead, Long Live Windows

In week three, everything that anyone ever knew about Windows development was confined to the bin, and Lee has started to rewrite life as we know it. Fortunately he has documented Life (version 2) in the Ultimate Coder blog, to save a lot of time and energy for likeminded developers. As promised in the previous week, the AGK OpenGL-based commands now have a neat interface to the DirectX world of WinRT. The mammoth 14 hour coding session that leads to this breakthrough is available as a time-lapse video.

Again, the judges have given their opinions, here is just one of them:

"As has been a theme, Lee is tromping through with steel shod boots where angels fear to tread. The man is crazy, and I dig that about him. If you are looking to develop Windows 8 applications, follow Lee's blog."

Chris Maunder


The competition continues and we will keep you updated through the news site and of course via Lee's Blog.

Carnage is Waiting for the Greenlight


Carnage is now on Steam Greenlight, where you can help to turn it into a published game on the Steam Platform.Steam Greenlight Steam Greenlight is a new system that enlists the community's help in picking some of the next games to be released on Steam. Developers post information, screenshots, and videos for their game and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution. Steam Greenlight also helps developers get feedback from potential customers and start creating an active community around their game as early in the development process as they like.

Help make Carnage a reality by pledging your support now!

What is Carnage? 

Carnage is a near-futuristic multi-player game show where clone warriors blow chunks out of each other for our own sick entertainment. Set in an arena housing a horde of blood thirsty spectators, the player must please the crowd with excessive gore to make good TV. Frantic combat and strategic skirmishes both have their place, as well as creative use of weapons and arena booby traps to provide maximum spectator enjoyment.

Can your clone horde reign victorious in the arena? Or will you just contribute to the growing stockpiles of dog food?

Carnage can also be found on the TGC Forums here.

Survivalism - Tower Defence Style

Survivalism, developed using DarkDGK

Survivalism is set in a Gothic cathedral, where hoardes of zombies are trying to destroy the altar! With a truck-load of high-powered and experimental weaponry, you must try to survive and hold the altar as long as possible! Mixing elements of the Tower Defense and FPS genres, this survival-based neo-Gothic style video game is sure to challenge your strategic skills whilst being able to unleash mayhem on the undead!

The game features the essentials of any Tower Defense game, with an overview map to plan your strategy and place weaponry. There are numerous categories, from handheld guns and devices, to obstacles and explosive mines and barrels. The setting is a Gothic-inspired sanctum, beautifully decorated from ground to rafters.

James Blandford is the developer of this game, due for release mid-September 2012. It is coded using DarkGDK and the project has been ongoing for the past 7 months, in amongst exams and an internship at Criterion Games. You can expect to see this game soon on IndieDB and various other sites.

Follow the progress of Survivalism on the Game Creators' Forums.

FPS Creator News

FPS Creator News

This month we highlight two games worthy of attention, including one which has latched on to an internet phenomena, and now ranks amongst the most talked about incarnations of Slenderman. But first, let us introduce Touch of Fear.

Touch of Fear

Touch of FearSteven Kane; just another ordinary 36 year old employee at U-Corp - part of the 'quantum leap' project (aptly named after the TV show). I was being paid to work as part of a small team, trying to discover the truth behind time travel! Time travel I hear you say...I know, I was dubious at first, but, we really found something. John - the guy that leads the team - has had us working day and night ever since that first trial was successful. He says the next trials should involve humans, but, we all know that the FDA would never approve such an idea.

John pulls me over to one side to have a quiet chat and we agree that we need to move the testing further. I put myself forward as a guinea pig. I agreed to meet him late that night at the labs.

We had discussed the possibility of sending me forward ten minutes where I could leave a note... no time like the present (excuse the pun) I arrive at the U-Corp building that night...

Touch of Fear Forum ThreadTouch of Fear is produced by Unfamilia using FPS Creator, and you can feed back on the game, and follow any future enhancements in the dedicated forum post here.

Slenderman's Sanatorium

slenderman Slenderman is a strange internet legend; a concept that has grown from many points across the internet to become what it is today. But tomorrow, Slenderman may be something different again.

This FPS Creator game by Marc Steene and Wray Burgess is based on the indie game 'Slender' by Mark J. Hadley (AgentParsec). It shares the same gameplay elements as the original - you must collect 8 pages while avoiding the enemy. There are some differences which will make playing a somewhat unique experience - different AI, new sounds, and a different environment. And for anyone who gets 8 pages...there are 3 surprises waiting in store!

Read more and feed back on the forum thread. You can also read a review of this increasingly popular game on the Indie Games website.  

The Best FPS Creator Deal - Save Over $150.00!

This offer has proved so popular amongst new users of FPS Creator and those that simply want 9 new model packs at a fanatstic price, that we just let it run and run! 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:

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In the Mix Mix

Mix Mix

Mix Mix, developed using AGK MIXMIX is a spelling puzzle game with a twist. You start with a random pool of 64 letters, and every time you use a letter to form a new word, it advances to the next letter of the alphabet. Use an A and it becomes B, B becomes C, and so on. Your ultimate goal is to create one ten-letter word. There are three levels of difficulty, and you can play a timed game, or a free-play game with no time limit. Spelling medals are awarded at various milestones as you advance.

This game is the latest in a number of apps developed by Rich Derscheimer using AGK.

Mix Mix on iTunesYou can download MixMix from iTunes now. Rich is also the developer of AGK Particle Sandbox.

App Developers Group - Biggest Success Story

TGC App Developers Group  

by Adam Hodgson

The monthly ADG newsletter for August has naturally focused on one man...

November 2010: A very simple message is posted to The Game Creators forums:

  "A few of us are publishing games on multiple platforms and I thought it might be a good idea to pool our resources and experiences. Also we could ensure that our Apps get properly Beta tested." 

Within 18 months, the poster of this message is working for The Game Creators. That poster is Steven Holding, founder of ADG.

This one simple post was the inauguration of The App Developers Group, now a thriving community of like-minded developers. The public face of the group is baxspace.com, but behind this lies a hive of activity as games are developed, tested to destruction and published through the website and numerous marketplaces across the internet.

Since the establishment of the ADG, Steven has forged and published over eight apps, authored developer tutorials and has even represented The Game Creators in the "Hackathon" programming event hosted by Cadbury.

From day one, Steven has been joined by many fellow developers. This growing, high-spirited group of developers maximized their benefits by "pooling resources" and "sharing experiences".

Activity in the ADG received a boost upon the release of The Game Creators cross-platform development tool App Game Kit (AGK). Suddenly, the members of the ADG were no longer restricted to developing for Windows and were given the opportunity to compete in the Android, iOS, Samsung, Meego and Blackberry markets. Steven embraced and mastered AGK, continuously releasing numerous code snippets and tools to ease the development for AGK developers such as his Character Workshop utility; as well as providing a helping hand to those who asked. Due to his enthusiasm and extensive knowledge of AGK, The Game Creators handpicked Steven to represent them in Cadbury's Hackathon, a software development competition.

Following Steven's admirable participation in Cadbury's hackathon came news that shook both the ADG and TGC developer communities; The Game Creators had a new addition to their team.  Steven stepped into his dream career of programming games saying "I'm looking forward to hammering AGK to its limit over the coming months. Working on it full time will also give me some useful insights that can help the rest of the community too."

We wish Steven well as he dives into his new role and eagerly await the pearls which are to follow.   

This article was presented in Issue 10 of the ADG newsletter. We welcome all independent developers to join us, the pre-requisite is simply that you are anxious to share experience and resources with the rest of us.


Retro Racing Returns

Developed using AGK, Retro Racer brings old-school racing into the palm of your hand! Inspired by classic arcade racing games, Retro Racer delivers a surge of racing adrenaline to-go! Retro Racer, developed in AGKRetro Racer includes:

Retro Racer on Google PlayGet the game on Google Play now. At the time of writing, you can also download the entire Retro Racer soundtrack for FREE on the developers website.



TGC at IDF 2012

TGC at IDF 2012For those who are reading our newsletter State-side, you may be pleased to learn that TGC will be at the Intel Developer Forum this year (IDF) from the 11th September through to the 13th. You will find us at various stands throughout the three days, and of course we will be Tweeting at every bar and restaurant so you can track us down for a quick pint and a chat.


Space Dust - Put on your Space Safety Goggles

Get your jet pack on and head into space in this brain teasing space puzzler! Get your space man back to his ship in this FREE version of Space Dust, developed by Digital Stone Media using AGK. Space Dust

Use your jet pack to propel you forward, but be careful… you can only move in a straight line! Plan ahead and think outside the box to unravel the solutions to these brain teasing puzzles of increasing difficulty.

Upgrade to the full version for more levels, wormholes, asteroid belts, black holes and more!

Space Dust on iTunesYou can download the free version from iTunes here, with a paid version available for more features and levels.



From The Forums

Quicksort for DBP 

Sometimes as coders, we just need a quick fix to a problem, without worrying about the intricacies. If you need a quick fix for sorting data, then here it is. Neuro Fuzzy has posted this solution in the Code Snippets.

Isometric Map Editor

Pharelax has posted his isometric map editor for anyone wanting to delve into this arena. Alongside the editor source code, you'll also find a set of isometric tiles from OpenGameArt.org where you'll find lots of other resources.

Quicksort, image by Wikipedia member RolandH

Keep up to date with TGC on Facebook

Find us on Facebook to discover more about The Game CreatorsJoin over 4,500 fans on TGC's Facebook page to keep bang upto date on news, user projects from the forums and discussions.

We're keen to hear from all our avid users and we always love to hear what you've been upto with the tools we sell. So if you have something you want to share with the wider TGC audience why not post it into the TGC Facebook page?

The Game Creators News

News, views, product launches, videos, tutorials, model packs,
community projects and competitions;
you will find all of them on The Games Creators News site.

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"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."

Abraham Lincoln