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Editorial - September 2013

Issue 127 cover

It has been the height of Summer here in the UK for the past few weeks, and the first one memorable for good weather in many years. Some events will predictably attract unwelcome weather no matter what. The Reading and Leeds festivals are one such event, as images like this illustrate. Having retrieved my son from this event, I can confirm that no special effects were used in the photographing of the mayhem. It provided a great reference point for zombie games as the crowds staggered from the fields after 4 days of partying with very little sleep and an overdose of rain and mud!

In our Summer light version of the newsletter this month we have some great insights into FPS Creator Reloaded and the grassy, mud free terrains; the crowds will be coming over the hill and from behind their cover very soon as Lee starts to add more characters to the demos. AGK V2 will start to take shape as the team return from holidays and get stuck into development. Finally we have crowd-steering behaviours emerging from the forums, alongside a handful of games, model packs, tutorials and other news.

Until next time,

Steve Vink


(1) FPSC News (2) MP72 (3) AGK2 (4) TGC Channel (5) Ballastic (6) AGK Games (7) From the Forums (8) Social Feeds (9) The Game Creators News

FPSC Reloaded takes a walk on the Wild Side

By Lee Bamber

Each month we will be bringing you updates on the progress of FPS Creator Reloaded. You will find a running commentary on the development through the FPSC-R Blog, but right here you will find some of the selected highlights that deserve your utmost attention. You can also follow the development on the official Facebook page. Within the R&D offices here at TGC, Reloaded is now our main focus and we aim to constantly develop it to make it into a world class game creation tool. With a refreshed passion we're excited to be bringing the technology up to date so it'll make amazing looking games.

Lee Bamber, FPS Creator Reloaded Developer summarises his August achievements.

Demonstrations Approach

The AI entity was instructed to 'remember' that the stairs inside the building to the window and the ledge did not work out too well and was tagged a 'failure'. He then thinks about another route that does not include the staircase that lead to failure...He then plots the alternative route, up the long ladder across the roof and down the shorter ladder to the ledge, which he does right away.

Internally, we can declare that we now have a prototype FPSC Reloaded with terrain, physics, player gun sticking out, assets scattered here and there, and the hero of the hour, our AI character. The character is doing what one would expect and running about, doing his patrol, reloading his gun and using the newly associated physics capsule to control his progress through the scene. Hills are no problem as he runs over them, obstructions do what they should do and stop him in his tracks. Of course the player cannot run through our AI character and he cannot run through the player. It's all very civilized. That is not to say he is finished, as he still has a lot to learn. He acts rather extraordinarily when standing still; he is not yet capable of melee battles; he has a number of issues when trying to detect the player; his general movement behaviour is erratic and he does not behave exactly as planned. However the next visit to our AI character will be about calming him down and getting him looking as good in the demo as he does in the AI proto room.

Health, shooting and impact deaths are essential to complete the current internal demo.  This way it will be possible to shoot the character, he can shoot back at me and we can have a great combat simulation. A test with two more characters added to the AI prototype showed some already intelligent actions. Even though it had not yet been coded, the AI entities would flank the player, some would fire, some run up and kick, others retreating to reload and as few as three characters kept my player pretty busy almost all of the time.

How intelligent is Artificial Intelligence?

You might be pleasantly surprised, Reloaded intelligence makes huge leaps from the current AI you are using today. Right now (and bear in mind that we are not yet finished coding the system), AI Patrollingthe AI entity can start on the terrain circling a building on patrol, spot the player, then chase him into a room and up some stairs, the player can dive through the window but he does not have 'leap' yet so we lose him, but he can still see his target through the window. The AI entity realizing he cannot reach him that way recalculates and figures out a slightly longer route to the ledge his prey is now standing on. It appears a second ladder drops from the roof of the building to this ledge, and there is a ground floor ladder which reaches the roof. Off the AI entity runs, back down the stairs, and by now it's been a long while since he saw the player escape, which means he could be somewhere other than the ledge, so to stay on guard he reverts to a Patrol mode, walks out the door and continues his route. One point in his patrol route allows him to spot the target still standing on the ledge platform.

Here comes the very intelligent part. The AI entity was instructed to 'remember' that the stairs inside the building to the window and the ledge did not work out too well and was tagged a 'failure'. He then thinks about another route that does not include the staircase that lead to failure (at the moment this is all he is programmed to remember). He then plots the alternative route, up the long ladder across the roof and down the shorter ladder to the ledge, which he does right away. On descending the second ladder, the target is once again in his line of sight and he registers to fire. Clever!

The Character Trinity

The physics integration with the character has gone very smoothly and the methods imposed have been successful. The physics object was to be attached to the visual object, leaving the third component of AI entity object to act as the 'advance scout' to reflect the characters mind. After reflection it became clear that his projected future position is dependent on physics awareness and AI. Now, he does not project his final destination through recent rubble and other dynamic obstacles. The object has been decoupled from DarkAI, and then a velocity force applied on the newly created physics object using the AI entity coordinates. In summary, the visual character is now influenced by both AI and physics in tandem, and with forethought on both aspects. What do we mean by forethought exactly? Watch this video to see how the character looks towards his next action before his body makes the associated move!


The State Engine Database

All of the actions that can be performed are held in the State Engine database. Amongst other things this marries the animations to the actions that are being performed very neatly. The ladder and staircase traversal animations have been added and integrated into the prototype where they are now proving their functionality is stable. Prior to this all of the standard animations for the character had been assigned a place in the massive state engine for behaviours, which means everything from sitting in a chair all the way through to combat, crouch and swimming. To give you an idea of how this looks, here are the standing actions:


The database allows some very advanced movements to be made seamlessly and realistically. Let's take the crouched character as an example. Using the animations available - as brilliant as they are - does not look good when chained together to move the character around whilst crouching. This requires blending of multiple animations and the State Engine database is pivotal to facilitating this. Here's an example of a typical crouching sequence:


Using the FPSC:R method produces natural movement as shown in this video from the state engine editor.

Melee combat has also been added to the system so that if the player is within 150 units of the enemy, they will charge at you at high speed and attack. If they are extremely close or you are ducking, they will give you a nice boot kick to let you know you're in danger.  Adding this relatively small function improved the combat system immensely and it was fantastic to see!

FPSC Reloaded sounding good

Total game immersion requires top quality sounds and effects. A new 'fire' sound has already been adopted and is first rate, transforming the audio quality of the new product. The sound test prototype is now being appraised by the team members to get their reaction on where we are. A combination of classic sounds, new sounds and even newer unheard sounds is working well, though the goal is to entirely replace the classic sound bank.  The strategy is to work on one weapon until it is the quality you expect in a AAA game, and once we're convinced it's unbeatable, we'll move on. The weapon we're testing against, you might have guessed, is the Remington Rifle, which packs a serious single shot punch, especially when your target is appraised through the extremely handy zoom scope! Other sound effects will include putting the weapon away, retrieving it, zooming in and out, reloading and finally firing.

Demo Screenshots

As we go to press, the mechanics of the demo have been proven. Integration of the characters and AI into the main terrain & physics demo is complete, and we've started populating it with some assets such as sandbags and buildings. AI DemoThe characters have a patrol route around the building and the player starts some way off near the shore, so he can sneak up on them and snipe them if he so desires. Ladders, stairs and a door are needed to connect it all together allowing enemies to be placed in the building and on the roof. The final demo will be an  'assault on the building' and will be quite hard for the player to win. If we can create that, we will have put together the first game play glimpse for Reloaded.

Here we have three enemies, one of which I dispatched with my trusty sniper rifle with the other two making there way to my position. I can make a b-line for the door which will give me some concentrated fire, but I would also be trapped. A few seconds later, one of the enemies decided to rush me and start punching and kicking his way to victory. Even though fire can be exchanged both ways now with working health, melee combat does not impose any damage or make physical contact so his efforts are in vain...for the moment.

AI Demo


Make your Pledge to the Project 

FPSC Reloaded is well underway and will be with our diehard fans and newcomers in the months to come. We are still taking pledges before the project is released. If you want to be one of the key supporters of this amazing new game maker then click HERE to make your pledge.

 Thanks to everyone who has helped so far. 

FPS Creator Fantasy

Fantasy Model Pack for FPS Creator

This pack is oozing quality fantasy themed models and segments. Designed by artist wolf from the TGC forums you are assured of a high quality result throughout the pack.

The pack includes;



Windows  Windows 

  FPSC Creator Model PacksCheck out the full details and purchase this model pack on the FPS Creator website.

 Return of the Wild West

Western Theme Pack for FPS Creator

Over 300 all new entities, segments, new characters and weapons. Now you can create the wild west for you and your friends with this media packed model collection.




FPSC Creator Model PacksCheck out the full details and purchase this model pack on the FPS Creator website.

Spritely Effects

Animated Sprites 

At long last we're bringing you a new animated sprite pack to help you populate your game levels with cool animating effects.

Laser Effects for Sci-Fi gamesThe pack includes:

Here are some of the effects in action in a mock-up level:

   FPSC Creator ModelsCheck out the full details and purchase this pack on the FPS Creator website.


Skyscroll Skyboxes

Skyscroll Skyboxes

This pack created and sold by Rolfy contains 11 high quality skyboxes in 1024x1024 resolution.

It includes matching cloud textures with scripts for Skyscroll

Simply select a sky. Place a trigger zone anywhere in your level and select the matching skyscroll script.



This pack approaches the problems where grid edges are visible and clouds don't blend with the sky used. You can now have a dynamic moving cloud sky in an FPSC game where the previous problems don't have to be hidden in some way.


Forum threadYou can see the full details of the skyboxes, how they work and a link to purchase them in the Forum thread.



AGK2 - The Final Fund

You already know we did it, AGK2 is funded!

The AGK 2 Kickstarter funding has reached heights we could have only dreamed of just a few weeks ago. The Kickstarter target for AGK 2 was reached on day one and the first stretch goal was reached by day 4. Not content with all of the additional capability, you continued to pledge all the way to the second, third and fourth milestones.

The final total amounted to £36,777 for which we thank each one of you.

The final feature list which you can expect from AGK2 as we develop over the coming months is:


Ouya Support


3D. AGK currently has over a hundred 3D commands but we'll be adding more essential features. We'll expand the AGK 3D universe not that we've reached this stretch goal;

World class Bullet Physics system. We've chosen this engine because it's cross platform, it's robust and has been used in many commercial games such as Disney's Cars 2, Dreamwork's MegamindShrek 4 and How to Train Your Dragon.

Developers are actively publishing AGK games

More about App Game Kit 2

App Game Kit (AGK) 2 will be a new and enhanced version of our current App Game Kit product. AGK is already used by hundreds of developers around the world, helping them to quickly create games and utility apps that can be coded once and then deployed across popular mobile platforms.

We have an exciting vision of how we want to evolve the product and your help is already moving the development forward with confidence.

For those new to AGK, the BASIC scripting system is very easy to learn and start coding with. If you're a seasoned developer you can access the extensive AGK libraries and use these inside your C++ projects.

The BASIC language has lots of game based commands that make it a cinch to create sprites, play sounds, add physics, code multiplayer games and much, much more. Once your game is compiled  you can take the resulting project byte code and run that through special players that we have created for the support platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Blackberry). 

So far we have outlined the new capabilities that have become a tangible path to AGK 2. Don't forget that prior to July, we already had our initial Kickstarter funded and Goal One reached. Here is a reminder of the features that are included with those levels:

AGK has a very strong 2D engine on to which we will add new commands and effects so your games can look even more awesome.

Additionally, the sound library will be expanded to allow finer control of individual sounds - the volume and pitch will be controllable. Where supported, we'll add seeking control of sounds and music files and the ability to read the current volume data. The new App Window Size feature will allow you to change the size of the app window at game run-time for Windows and Mac. 

AGK 2 KickstarterYou can still pledge! We have a PayPal option now that the Kickstarter Project has completed.


The TGC YouTube Channel

Youtube ChannelHave you visited the TGC YouTube Channel yet? You may be surprised:

Youtube ChannelTake a look at our channel now, and make sure you hit the subscribe button to stay up to date with new video uploads. Very often you'll get advanced previews of upcoming news.

Ballastic Case Study

In October 2012, Matthew Pilz, a programmer from rural Wisconsin, accepted a challenge. He had been lurking around the CodeProject website doing research when he came across a blog post by Lee Bamber, programming legend and founder of TheGameCreators.com, urging people to take part in the Intel® App Innovation Contest. Using a game idea that had stuck with him from years earlier, Pilz entered the contest, and in two months submitted his app, Ballastic. It won the gaming category's top prize.

Ballastic Case Study

About the Ballastic App

Ballastic was inspired by CANO-Lab's Pendulumania, a Japanese freeware game that Pilz had played in the late 1990s. The object of the game was to collect sparkling targets for points. Ballastic expands on that idea by adding rewards for capturing certain targets and for avoiding hazards and challenges that increase in number along with the difficulty levels. "I thought that would be the perfect platform using the touch interface to create the vision in my head," Pilz said.

Perceptucam Case StudyIntel have produced a case study around the Ballastic game, highlighting the various feature of the Ultrabook. You can read or download the study on the Intel website.

Get your Brain into Gear

Brain CatalystBrain Catalyst is a free 3D puzzle game, written in AGK by Ringo Games. The developers dedicate the game to those who love puzzles, and is aimed at advanced puzzle players.

Simply select a pattern and wait for the shuffling to complete. Start as soon as you are ready.

Brain CatalystTake a look at the gameplay video below and then got the Apple Store page to download for free!


Typewriter FX

Daniel Foreman has published another AGK tutorial for a simple typewriter effects. It does however, go beyond basic text entry and introduces timer based actions and natural sound effects.


From The Forums

The Ones that got Away

Once in a while a very old thread emerges that contains invaluable information. This month I have stumbled across two of these.

FPS Creator: Self-Illuminated UV Sprite Shader

It sounds more complicated than it is; at least for anyone who wants to simply use this effect provided by Bond1 in the FPSC forums. Forum threadIn plain English, this is an animated TV-screen that emanates its own light source, and all of the hard work is done for you in the shader. All you need to do is download the files from the forum thread, and watch the two videos that accompany it.


Philip's Crowd Behaviours

Or to be more precise, steering behaviours. These are complex algorithms to breathe realistic life Flockinginto crowds and induce various actions. Among them are seeking, fleeing, pursuing, evading, wandering, arriving, avoidance and more. They can even be combined to form compound actions, such as avoidance whilst fleeing.

kehagiat has posted a thread to illustrate some of these behaviours. This in turn has lead to the emergence once again of Philip's work back in 2006. In this old but still relevant set of postings, you will find DarkBASIC Professional code for many of these behaviours, ready to implement into any game.

Keep up to date with TGC on Facebook & Google+

Find us on Facebook to discover more about The Game CreatorsJoin over 5,600 fans on TGC's Facebook page to keep bang up to 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 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?

FPSC Reloaded

FPS Creator Reloaded on FacebookThere are now almost 900 fans discussing Reloaded on our Facebook page right now. Whether you simply want to see the update and progress news as it is released, or get involved in technical discussions about LOD, Light and lots of other topics, sign up to this page today to be part of it.


App Game Kit 

You can join in the Facebook discussions in our AGK group page with over 550 members and we have a new AGK Facebook page.



You can also follow our products on Google+ 

TGC on Google+

FPSC Reloaded on Google+

App Game Kit on Google+ 




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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