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Editorial - February 2013

Issue 120 cover

The side of gaming that interests me most is the psychology of making it addictive. I recently started researching again, while writing a simple Hi-Lo card game. As simple as it is to decide whether each of five cards will be higher or lower than the previous, there is still a fine art to making every card turn a heart-stopping moment.

In more complex games, decision making can be implemented very badly, or incredibly successfully. Take the following example: Would you rather take a guaranteed 500 dubloons, or take a 25% chance to win 1000 dubloons, with a 75% chance of winning nothing? Most readers right now are taking the sure thing, and will wander through such a game by picking up the sure thing, and not feeling particularly challenged.

Now take another scenario. You have 1000 dubloons, and you must now decide whether to forfeit a guaranteed half of the loot, or take a 25% chance to keep all it, with a 75% chance of losing it all. This is far more challenging, losing is far harder than winning. The outcome is identical, but now your player faces the regret of not taking a gamble to save their rewards, or the smaller possibility of the regret of gambling and losing everything. On the flip side, gambling and winning is equally emotional when you took the risk. Suddenly, the same game is many times more addictive!

The newsletter this month is full once again of winning games, challenging insights into FPSC Reloaded, numerically imaginative ways to improve your coding, and much more. Enjoy the read!

Until next time,

Steve Vink


(1) Hide It Find It (2) FPSC News (4) Hands On AGK (5) Ultimate Coder II (6) DBPro (7) Bubble & Squeak (8) FPSC News (9) MP66 (10) App Developers Group (11) Facebook (12) The Game Creators News

Hide It Find It Free

Play the FREE version of Hide It Find It, the addictive multiplayer app that lets you and your friends take it in turns to solve devious hidden object puzzles. Find objects hidden in a photo or picture, then send challenges to your friends. See who will be the fastest finder!

Hide It Find It - Invite Friends on FaceBook


Hide It Find It - Select your Photo or Background



  1. First you need to create your own custom background picture. Simply use an existing image, or take a photo.
  2. Hide a selection of photo-realistic objects in the picture. How sneaky will YOU be?
  3. When you're done, send the challenge to your friend!
Hide It Find It - Hide a selection of Objects in the picture


  1. Tap on an object when you find it on your friend's hidden object puzzle.
  2. Try not to tap on an empty space - you'll receive a time penalty!
  3. The winner is the person with the fastest time...will it be you?
Hide It Find It - Find all the Hidden Objects in the fastest time


It's easy to get started on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Just connect with Facebook through this app to find and play with your friends.

Hide It Find It - Be the fastest Finder amongst your friends

Addictive Features

FacebookBecome a fan and stay up to date with the latest news. Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fdigitalapps

Premium Features

Hide It Find It on iTunesDownload this great new game for free now at the iTunes store, and don't forget to tell your friends so you can challenge them straight away!

Hide It Find It - AGK It

As with many of the Games Creators' projects over the years, we use one venture to push forward another. Hide It Find It (HIFI) is another example of this philosophy, and AGK has benefited in numerous ways through the development of this App:

You can expect many more technical improvements to your favourite cross-platform development kit through other projects already in progress.


FPSC Reloaded - Graphical Beauty

Each month we will be bringing you updates on the progress of FPS Creator Reloaded. Work has now stated in earnest on the project. Lee has a brand new beast of a PC which will speed up his development work! Now let's show some progress on Reloaded to whet your appetite.

One area of FPS Creator which slows down the process of building and testing games is the build process. During the build the game creates a lot of light mapping and this is processor intensive. By breaking this up so that each time you place down an object into your game scene, the FPSC editor can generate the light mapping on the fly. Utilising threads, the light mapping can take place while you carry on doing other things in the editor. This video shows a prototype that proves the concept is sound and will work;



In this next video we are showing you one of the quality weapon models being developed; the Uzi. Watch how the light reflects off the metal. Although you will hear gun noises in this video, not all of the final sounds are in at this point, the purpose of the video is graphical. You can start to appreciate the increase in game immersion, with enhanced lighting throughout the room and objects, flickering overhead fluorescent tubes, smoke and bullet holes, and even lighting the room with the flare of the gunfire.

Make your Pledge to the Project 

FPSC Reloaded is underway and will be with our diehard fans and newcomers in 2013. But we still want your support to reach some ambitious but incredible stretch goals to implement even more fantastic features. Pledgers have already committed £4350 to the project, almost half way to the first stretch goal!

Already, FPSC Reloaded will incorporate new or improved:

FPSC Reloaded PledgeIn order to fulfill our stretch goals we are now offering avid FPSC users a way to get involved in FPSC Reloaded with our own internal TGC pledge system.

We have kept it simple and are offering a single pledge amount of £50. Just like Kickstarter, your pledge will be used to help pay for the development and entitles you to a few gifts.

These pledges will go towards the development of demo assets and media and also new features when we raise enough through this way. This list includes:

As further pledging milestones are reached, you can expect to see Tree Systems, Entity Reflections, Entity and Icon Makers, Water/cloth physics, road painting, vehicles, additional game modes and more.

If you choose to back us and pledge we can offer you the following:

FPSC Reloaded Pledge

Please pledge today!

* You will receive the model packs as soon as your order is processed.
* FPS Creator Reloaded is not due to be completed until October 2013.
* New stretch goals may not be available until sometime after October 2013.

Hands On AGK - Update

Since the release of the Hands On AGK BASIC book back in June 2012, a lot of new features have been added to AGK. But don't worry about your book being out-of-date; the first of the updates to the book will be available this month from Digital Skills.

The supplement is free to everyone who has purchased Hands On AGK BASIC and comes in the form of
a PDF download. It covers all of the 3D statements of Release 108 and is around 100 pages in length. As usual, it not only has clear and easy-to-follow explanations and examples for all the new commands, but it is also filled with activities for you do as you work your way through the text.

Digital Skills To obtain your copy of the supplement, make sure you register your details with Digital Skills at http://www.digital-skills.co.uk/.


 A Beginner's Guide to Multi-Platform Games Processing

Although billed as a beginner's guide, this fantastic resource is also invaluable to seasoned programmers looking to get the most out of AGK. Packed full of information on every aspect of Tier 1 programming, the book will take you from basic coding concepts through to the specifics of the AGK language. The book covers:

Every AGK command statement (up to V1.07) in the language is explained in fine detail and accompanied with easily understood coding examples.

Existing AGK owners will learn new techniques and gaming ideas with complete game examples.

Hands On AGKIf you have purchased previous Hands On books, you already know how easy they are to understand, how effective the in-book activities are at reinforcing information, and how useful it is to have complete solutions available to all the tasks.


PDF DownloadYou can download a free chapter now, to appreciate the detail and the comprehensible format in which it is delivered. Click here to read this chapter in PDF format.


Get Hands On AGK BASIC now and fire up your imagination! In just a few weeks and months you could be earning real money selling your own apps across multiple platforms!

The Perceptual Conversion of 7 Ultimate Coders

Lee Bamber cannot be accused of shying away from the most arduous of challenges. Many may recall the Ultimate Coder challenge in which Lee could only be praised for setting the highest possible standards, and then excelling in his bid to win the title. The AGK community were rewarded with new sensor functionality and Windows 8 compatibility, which in turn led to the huge prize haul.

It's about to begin...all over again. Intel's second Ultimate Coder Challenge. The work is planned and 7 amazing teams of developers have assembled to accept the challenge, along with four anxiously awaiting Judges, who will review the work with us week to week.  If you missed the first one the best way it can be described is like putting a bunch of highly skilled people into a giant blender, with their wits to guide them and a thrill for adventure to fuel them. All for our education (and perhaps amusement). The blender, in this case, is a fully exposed 7 week challenge to code amazing new app prototypes using new Intel technology.

Intel Ultimate Coder IIRead the full story in the Intel Blog, and get ready to support Lee all the way, coffee and adrenalin can only take him so far!


DarkBASIC Professional Questions

Daniel Foreman is answering your questions regarding your DarkBASIC Professional projects, using YouTube to respond. In this first video, you can see how a simple calculator program has been fixed and then it is enhanced to provide further functionality. We can all learn a little, no matter what our level of expertise!

 DarkPRINCIPLES for DarkBASIC Professional

Following on from last month's introduction to installing and starting with DarkBASIC Professional, we feature this month the next video on the use of Variables.


And finally for this month, we continue with another lesson from the series, on program loops.


All of these videos and more are available on the TeachYourselfStuff channel. The accompanying videos cover a multitude of areas for anyone new to DarkBASIC Professional and also to programming:


Lee Bamber on Twitter

Lee Bamber is Tweeting

Everything you need to know about both DarkBASIC Professional and FPS Creator Reloaded development can 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:

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

Bubble & Squeak

Bubble & SqueakAn addictive, puzzle-packed Bubble Popper Game for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad


Two cheeky monkeys, Bubble and Squeak, are stranded on spooky Pirate Island. They desperately need your help to escape the ghostly tide and evil Captain Black by solving puzzles and popping all the bubbles.


Match three or more bubbles of the same colour to pop your way to success. With 108 levels and numerous puzzles to test your popping powers, you will be hooked for hours! Be careful though- the rising tide will swallow you up if you're too slow!


Will your aiming skills be good enough to shoot around the obstacles? Use a variety of special bubbles to help you solve the puzzles including powerful Ball Bearings that can burst entire clusters of bubbles, and Paint Bubbles which release droplets and change the colour of any other bubbles they hit.

Bombs and spinners can also be aimed precisely to achieve bubble chain reactions. Indestructible skulls and spikes will force you to adopt clever strategies in order to beat certain levels. These are just a select few of the fun extras which will either make your game more challenging or give you a hand beating those pesky bubbles.

Bubble & SqueakFEATURES

A True Collaboration

This game is brought to you by the collaborative efforts of Andrew Vanbeck (whom most of you will Bubble & Squeakknow as the moderator VanB on our forums), The Game Creators and Focus Multimedia. You can find the game on the iTunes store for iPhone and iPad, and we urge you to keep an eye out for the PC version, coming soon.

FPS Creator V120 Beta 15!

FPS Creator News

The first month of the new year has not seen any let-up in the FPS Creator camp. V120 is almost complete, with the end of the month seeing new builds for both the map editor and the game engine. The download links for betas are in the official forum thread, where you can also feed back to the development team. As always, make backups of your projects and development environment before installing and using beta versions!

Lee's FPSC-R BlogThis is important work, to allow Lee to dedicate his time to FPSC Reloaded. You can keep up to date with the progress via his Blog, which also includes additional insights into the world of an intrepid developer. You will find some very detailed explanations as to how technically complex and advanced FPSC-R will be.

As February 1st marks the first official day of the FPSC-R development project, we've included the Day One blog here.

Reloaded Day One

Today officially marks the first day of the Reloaded project! Up until now the prototypes were created ahead of schedule as I was itching to start coding. Today however is when the egg timer turns and all eyes are on me to complete this little project in time for Christmas.

I have mapped out my duties over the next eight months very roughly, and mapped out my duties over the next three weeks specifically.  All things being equal, next week will see the elimination of the 'build phase' and separate FPSC-Game.exe executable so you can click a button in the editor and instantly play the game. The following week will see real time light-mapping of the scene as you are editing it (segments and entities) and the third week will see the introduction of entities that have a built-in dynamic light that can cast a single shadow map into the scene.  Putting all that together, you will be able to drop in area lights for effective static light-mapping and spaced our dynamic lights to cast lovely real-time shadows from any dynamic objects in the scene.  I will wrap the whole thing up with some cool scene graphics provided by Mark and should have a playable alpha of this part of the product by the 25th February.

...after we finish Reloaded, the very next thing I will want to do is add vehicles with trailing cloth banners, riding on it's soft body tyres across a dynamic rope bridge at break neck speed before crashing through a destructible wall into someone's living room.

Lee Bamber


Over the years, I have learned the best way to get a product finished is to finish it quickly. Spend too much time planning, drawing little sketches, tinkering with funny little modules or mulling over the enormity of the project and chances are you will never finish it.  I have a heap of stuff to do, and only a few short months of fevered activity to do it in, so the sooner I can get the general shape of the new product carved out the better.

The following month (providing I hit my target) will be a coin toss between the new physics system or the new terrain system. Both equally relevant and connect directly to the work done in February. I think terrain has the edge given this geometry also needs to be light mapped and incorporated into the editing experience.

In doing some advance research into physics, I have found Bullet Physics to be a good contender for selection over PhysX. Bullet is completely free (PhysX has priced licensing), Bullet is GPU accelerated on AMD cards, it's open source which means I can fix anything that goes strange and the online demos are very cool indeed. I will return to this comparison of features closer the time but I find my mind getting excited to think that after we finish Reloaded, the very next thing I will want to do is add vehicles with trailing cloth banners, riding on it's soft body tyres across a dynamic rope bridge at break neck speed before crashing through a destructible wall into someone's living room.

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:

Click here to purchase the Bonanza pack, including FPS Creator
for just $29.99 / €22.00 / £19.99

Night City for your FPSC Games

Night City Model Pack for FPS Creator

Night City is a collection of buildings, entities and a road system that harks back to older times. The architecture is based on the construction of the 1920′s up to the 1940′s. These buildings complement many genres:The Night City lit by Streetlamp

Lots of ground and rooftop entities give you a chance to dress up your set and create a more personal feel to your own urban neighbourhood. In this pack there are 99 assets in total.


Purchase Night CityFind full details, more screenshots and purchase Night City here.

The Inspiration behind Night City

I caught up with George Patterson (aka Disturbing13), to find out how Night City came to be...

"I've been looking at the state of buildings for a long time and noticed how incredibly plain most modern structures are these days. Yet in a lot of darker dramas, and horror in Hollywood they look for more interesting and artistically influenced buildings to feature in their films. You often find older buildings such as ones from the 1940s when almost every building was considered a work of art. There was more a Greco/Roman quality to them with immense attention to tiny details, some of which were only noticeable from the exterior of the buildings, multiple floors up.

"I've studied architecture for a long time and a quick image search for neo-classical buildings revealed a cornucopia of material to work with. I find models based on real designs look so much better since they are based in reality. To give the buildings a gritty and more cohesive look I used a single overlay texture for all of the buildings. This guaranteed that I could put any building next to another and have it look like it belongs there. It also gave the buildings an extra textured effect that added detail where there wasn't much detail before.

"In my searches for neo-classical buildings I came across many buildings that are in completely different locations that were featured as part of the same city. Examples include such films as the original Batman Movie series as well as Dark City and games like Silent Hill, Devil May Cry, Resident evil and especially Arkham City. Arkham City was definitely the best example since it used buildings from Los Angeles, Chicago, London, as well as New York and many other places around the world.

"In Night City you will find designs that are inherently complicated, but the structures have been kept as simple as possible for game use, and I have allowed the textures to complete most of the detail. I look forward to seeing Night City being brought to life through your creations."

App Developers Group - Algorithms And Efficiency

TGC App Developers Group  

The editor of The ADG Newsletter, Adam Hodgson, is this month sharing his knowledge of algorithms and efficient programming.  

Analysis of Algorithms - worst case running times

by Adam Hodgson

What is the running time of an algorithm?

As the name suggests, the running time of an algorithm is the amount of time it takes for the algorithm to run over a number of entries.  This article is going to focus on worst-case running times (the worst possible time it takes an algorithm to run).  We describe running times in a simple way using what's called ‘Big Oh' notation.  Big Oh notation is used in the fashion O( f(n) ) where f(n) is some mathematical function such as x2.  The ‘Big-Oh' simply means that the number of operations the algorithm uses on nentries grows at the rate f(n).  For example, if an algorithm runs in O(n^2) time, this means that for n entries, it makes roughly n2 operations.  To visualise the rate of growth, simply graph f(n).  

The most common running times are:

In many cases, you may deduce that an algorithm runs as a combination of these such as:

In these cases, when determining the worst-case, we single out the largest (most significant) running time and remove any coefficients.  As n2 is the slowest we say that the worst-case running time is O(n^2).  

Why do we do this?  It has to do with how large n can get.  As n becomes larger and larger, only one part of the equation becomes significant.  Using the above equation, let's say n = 10 (log is base 2).  This equates to roughly 200 + 3 + 3 = 206.  Now if n becomes larger such as 1000 it equates roughly to 2,000,000 + 10 + 3 = 2,000,013.  It becomes evident that n2 grows the fastest.  

Applying running times

Now that we know what running times are, how do we use them?  Take the below array.  It consists of 10 integers (10 entries) in ascending order.

Lets say our task was to write an algorithm which is to return the index of a specified number - a search.  The first method that comes to mind is to start at the beginning of the array, and incrementally move through the array, one by one until we have a match - a linear search.  If the specified number is 8, it will take 8 comparisons to find the specified number and return the index.  The worst case of this algorithm is if we had to find the number 10, it would take 10 comparisons.  Analyzing this algorithm we can conclude that it will take n comparisons in its worst case scenario.  In ‘Big-Oh' notation, this is denoted as O(n) - for n entries it will take n operations in a worst-case scenario.  As the sorted arrays we need to search become larger (as n approaches infinity), the number of operations grow in a linear fashion.  While, in most cases this is satisfactory, is there faster way?  

The Binary Search

There is.  We can search the sorted array much faster using a Binary Search.  A Binary Search significantly cuts down the number of comparisons however, there's a trade-off.  Due to its nature a Binary Search will only work on sorted arrays.  The way a binary search works is that it halves the number of entries it needs to search each time it makes a comparison.  This is best explained with an example - repeating the query for the number 8.

The search begins at the n/2th entry, which in this case is 5.  

As 8 > 5 we only need to search to the right of 5 because the array is sorted.  

We repeat the above process by again, going to the middle and comparing.  This time the middle is 8 and since 8 = 8 (remember this is the second comparison) we have found our number.  This search found 8 with only two comparisons compared to eight with our linear search.  The second example demonstrates searching for 10, the worst case scenario for the linear search.  

Starting at the middle - 5.  

10 > 5    so we know it has to be on the right

10 > 8, once again, search the right

10 > 9    This leaves only 10 left.  

10 = 10

Even though, in the final step, there is only one number left, one should not assume that it's the specified number.  Sometimes, a search for a number that isn't in the array comes up and so one must be prepared for such a circumstance.  We won't worry about this right now, however.  

The Binary Search only needed 4 comparisons to find the number 10 compared to ten comparisons to find it in the linear search.  Right now the binary search looks like a much faster option for searching a sorted array but is it always faster?  The answer is no, if you had to search for the number 1 for instance, the linear search will only need 1 comparison while the Binary Search will need a few more.  However, on average, especially when used on much larger arrays, a Binary Search is much faster.  

Worst-case running time of the Binary Search

So, what is the worst-case running time for the Binary Search?  This can be worked out using some mathematics.  Before we begin, we're going to define a few variables:

We repeat the above search for the number 10, this time analyzing it.  At the beginning of each Binary Search, the current size we are operating on is the same size as the total, hence s = n.  For example:

It's at this size we make our first comparison.  After the first comparison 10 > 5, we're left with five numbers:

After the second comparison 10 > 8, we have two number left to search:

The third comparison 10 > 9. 

One more comparison to check that we have the correct number. 10 = 10 - We have found our number!  

Have you noticed any patterns yet?  As s = n at the beginning but is continuously divided in half, we can represent this as a mathematical equation.  Listing the phases:

The mathematical pattern here is that  s = n*(1/2)c-1.  In other words, the number of divisions we have made to obtain s is the number of comparisons minus one.  What we're looking for is an expression for the number of comparisons made and we can do this by making c the subject of the equation.  In steps:


Hence, the Binary Search operates in O(log(n)) time for n entries.  


Analysing our algorithms can yield many benefits such as the desire to find a faster algorithm.  We also use the running times of algorithms in our decision making process such as which data structure to implement or which algorithm will suit the task at hand the best.  It doesn't matter what you're programming, knowing how to analyze your algorithms and selecting the most suited will help you obtain optimal efficiency.  

This article was presented in Issue 15 of the ADG newsletter. We welcome all independent developers to join us, the pre-requisite is simply that you are eager to share experience and resources with your fellow developers.


Keep up to date with TGC on Facebook

Find us on Facebook to discover more about The Game CreatorsJoin over 5,000 fans on TGC's Facebook page to keep bang up to date on news, user projects from the forums and discussions. At the time of writing we have just seen our 5,001st fan sign up to the Facebook group!

We're keen to hear from all our avid users and we always love to hear what you've been up to 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?

Don't forget you can also join our FPSC Reloaded and AGK fan pages too.

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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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