Summer is nearly over and a lot of readers will be facing yet another school year about to start! But don't let that get you down, instead focus on making great games :) Last month we announced the start of our 2004 programming competition and already the forums are alive with work in progress screen shots and talk about it. It's good to see the different games progress as the competition deadline draws closer. Remember to post your test games to the forum to get feedback, suggestions and a wide range of systems covered.
Things have been chaotic this month as we draw near for our first official FPS Creator beta in early September, but we managed to release a new product in the shape of the excellent art package ProMotion. Sadly the Enhancement Pack and EZRotate have been delayed but they WILL be out shortly! We just have to get FPSC Beta 1 finished first. Work still commences on the DBPro 5.6 Upgrade and you can find more info this issue. For now, check out the cool winning games from the Acoders.com competition, read part 2 of our in-depth DLL tutorial and see what's happening in the TGC world.
TGC Competition 2004!
|The Game Creators Competition 2004|
The Game Creators Programming Competition 2004 has started! The last couple of competitions have been resounding successes, aided by the great prizes given away. This year is no exception and we actually have more prizes than ever before. The chances of you winning something simply by entering is significantly higher than any previous year. This is because we have no less than 87 prize packs to give away, a grand total of 131 unique items from top sponsors including: ATI, Live Publishing, Caligari, Shockwave Sounds, Focus, Fast Trak, SW3D Games, Binary Moon and of course ourselves.
You can find full details of the competition over on the TGC Programming Competition 2004 pages, but here are just a few of the great prizes on offer:
And loads more!
As said, you can find full details of the competition over on the TGC Programming Competition 2004 pages, including the full rules list, how to enter, what is required and more.
|For more information visit: //www.thegamecreators.com/|
Pro Motion is a pixel painting art package that takes all of the key features that made Deluxe Paint (on the Amiga) so powerful, and then wrapped them up in an easy to use, light-weight, Windows interface. If you have a need to create high quality detailed game images and sprites, then join the likes of Core Design, Kaliko, Digital Eclipse, Crawfish Interactive, Tiertex and more in using Pro Motion. It is ideal for artists working on small displays such as Mobile Phone games, PDAs, handheld devices (Gameboy Advance) or Macromedia Flash, or anywhere where pixel perfect painting tools and precision is required. Besides the dozens of tools and functions there is even support for tile based graphics and tile palette management for Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance graphics. Order Online today.Key Features
All tools are optimized for image and animation editing at a pixel level for graphics with up to 256 colours per frame.
For more information, to buy on-line or download the free trial version please check out the ProMotion web page.
|For more information visit: //www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2096|
|Vectors Do Not Bite!|
Philip Young has published and released what he describes as "A helpful and friendly guide to vectors and vector mathematics for the Dark Basic Community" - and we couldn't agree more! Split over 5 Chapters, all of which are finished we're glad to report, and 38 example pieces of source code this guide is invaluable for anyone wanting to learn how to actually use the vector commands in DarkBASIC Professional in their games. Small examples are including such as creating the thrust motion for an "Asteroids" style ship movement, a Lens Flare effect or an RTS game object position selection function.
The guides include diagrams, lots of source code and are cleanly laid out and easy to follow. So if you've been wondering what on earth add vector2 might actually do - now is your chance to find out. Two versions of the guide exist, the content is the same, the HTML presentation is slightly different so if the first one doesn't work - check out this one instead, both kindly hosted by Kentaree Studios.
|Read the guide at: http://www.kentaree-studios.com/tutorials/vectors/|
|DarkBASIC Professional On-line|
The perfect way to get started in game programming at a rock-bottom price! DarkBASIC Professional On-line is an extremely powerful and versatile package. It contains ALL of the same features, commands, help files and functions that the boxed version of DarkBASIC Professional contains. The difference is that you get less media and example projects to explore and of course no printed manual or box.
This version of DarkBASIC Professional is ideal for those of you who don't need the printed manual and can get by with the built-in help files. The help files list all of the commands by category and are available from within the editor at the touch of a key. Because there are no packages to send, you get the same programming language at a vastly reduced price and without the usual wait for the mailman to deliver your goods. The version of DarkBASIC Professional you will receive is 5.4 - the latest at the time of writing - so you won't even need to upgrade it.
|For more information visit: //www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2000|
Shanon White was the 2nd place winner of the Acoders competition with the entry Retrospect. Here is the full review from the Acoders.com web site:
This is a really well planned out fun game. The author has clearly thought how to implement time properly. The game consists of the usual FPS dumb enemies to blast through, with doors and switches galore. The fun and clever part comes in when you start using the time machine. You are able to travel back in time, and watch the steps you just took. This comes in handy with timed doors that shut before you can reach them.
You simply hop into the time machine, and wait for your ghost self to repeat the steps you just took, and voila.
In the screenshots you will see a human character, this is you in the past. A very clever game, and some of us enjoyed playing it a lot. The only niggle is the fact there is no proper crosshair, which makes aiming hard at times.
Review copyright 2004 Acoders.com
|For more details: Retrospect at Acoders.com|
|DarkBASIC Professional 5.6 Beta Released|
Last month saw the 5.5 Upgrade for DarkBASIC Professional released and now we unleashed the first public beta of the 5.6 Upgrade. This Upgrade continues our process of bug elimination and monthly progress on the increasing stability of DarkBASIC Professional. Although still not yet the official release you can grab the file from our BetaFiles download area. If you find any significant problems with 5.6 beta or DarkBASIC Professional in general then please post about them in our Bug Reports board. By doing so our developers can ensure they are fixed in future Upgrades.
|Download from: http://betafiles.thegamecreators.com/dbpro|
|A Time to Warp|
Scott Nelson released this DarkBASIC game "A Time to Warp" which made 3rd place in the Acoders.com competition and is a great take on the "gaming through the eras" theme. Be sure to check out Scotts web site.
A "Time to Warp" is one of those games that makes you smile. The basic concept of gameplay is ridiculously simple, but that doesn't matter at all. You drive your car left or right, and fire at blocks to reveal a colored orb. The main idea behind the game is that you get to see various incarnations of the game across recent history.
Starting in the early 70's, the game goes from text based, to 2D, to full blown 3D. For completing a mode, you will get some date snippets which show you a time line of computer gaming.
The author has hit on an excellent idea here. Taken further this could potentially be a brilliant, addictive game. Perhaps if the game was played a little more like the game Warioware, with more challenging tasks it would be great. Overall, this game is really interesting, with decent graphics and a fun twist.
Review copyright 2004 Acoders.com
|For more details: A Time to Warp at Acoders.com|
|Skycars on Sky One|
Sky One broadcasts a gaming show called Gamesville every day. Part of the show is a section where one of the presenters (Sarah) picks the best of the crop from freeware and shareware game downloads and showcases them on TV, giving them a quick overview, some live footage of the game in action and telling you where to download them from. In a recent episode of the show she picked the game Skycars, which is a firm favourite created in DarkBASIC. If you can, catch the show at 8am and 2pm each day to see if you can spot any other DarkBASIC creations featured!
|For more information visit: http://www.gamezville.tv|
Work has been crazy here on the FPS Creator project. The developers and artists are working solidly to have the first beta ready for early September and it has been all-hands on deck to make this happen. Hence this months FPSC Insider is going to be shorter than usual, next month we'll focus on the first beta and show what the editor can do, for now we're just going to walk through some example games.
Although still under rapid development, FPSC is stable enough to be able to create stand-alone EXE files now which we've been distributing in-house for general testing. Two of the most recent builds showcased the new scorch mark effects, object collision, weapons, glass breaks and sound environments.
The first demo game featured a simple square room that had been split off into two sections. Lining one side of the wall were 6 small compartments (just big enough to fit one person inside of) with glass windows. Inside each you could see a different weapon. The glass windows stopped you from being able to walk inside, but a swift blast from your pistol shattered the glass allowing you access. While this might sound like a relatively minor point it does highlight a few things: 1) The window segments were able to detect being shot 2) Once shot, they allowed the player to walk through them. It is small touches like this that make a difference in a game, even if you don't always realise it.
The screen shot above shows the chain gun weapon busy blowing little holes into the environment. As you can see the scorch marks are shown with high-light placement graphics for easy checking of the angle and type. There are a variety of scorches depending on the weapon and type of impact. Objects can also scorch differently, doors for example ruining the panneling or buckling. At the moment scorches persist until the level ends.
The room also featured a small raised ramp which you could walk across. The player footstep sound changed according to the environment, across the floor and up the ramp. Collision was also handled correctly. In the room the one single enemy was also able to traverse this ramp.
Here you can (just about) see the ramp on the lower left. There is also a crate on the floor that I had blown around with the rocket launcher. For some reason I seem to be firing a weapon again :) This time its the Uzi. I promise next issue we'll have some non-firing screen shots!
Next month as promised we'll be looking more in-depth at the map editor itself, which is the real hub of the whole game building operation.
|For more info see next months newsletter|
|DarkBASIC Games Scoop Acoders Awards|
The Acoders.com Indie Game Making Competition 2004 finished on the 7th of August 2004 and saw a good range of entries. The theme of the competition was "Time and time manipulation" and we're happy to report that both the second and third place winners went to games created with DarkBASIC. Both games are reviewed in depth this issue, but congratulations to the developers, all those who entered and Acoders for organising the event. Visit the Acoders web site for more game release news, services and forums.
|For more information visit: http://www.acoders.com/acsite/competition_index.php|
|Character Shop Now Available|
Character animation is arguably the hardest step in development for most games. It's very common to see demos with beautiful but strangely unpopulated environments, or with only a few stiff animations. How can indy developers be expected to create these? Animation tools are expensive, hard to use, and take many hours to get quality results. That was until Character Shop.
Character Shop is the solution to this long-standing difficulty. The program contains 80+ professionally produced animations that can be applied to any humanoid mesh scaled to the fit the skeleton. This means you don't have to do any of the animation work yourself - it has already been done for you by professionals. You simply rig the skeleton to your models and save the end results. The vertex weighing process is straightforward, with powerful selection tools to reach every nook and crevice. Use the auto-attachment feature, then view the mesh deformation in real time and make final adjustments to the vertices.
Character Shop is available to buy now for only $49.99 (39.95 Euros, £26.99) from the web site below. There is also a free trial version available.
|For more information visit: //www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2094|
|Third Party Commands with PureBasic - Part 2|
This is part 2 of our tutorial on creating Third Party Command DLLs for DarkBASIC Professional with PureBasic.3. How to make a simple DarkBASIC Professional command
In this part, each sample will be detailled from procedure creation to string table editing. I recommend to use a software like ResourceHacker to add your string table and them modify them to fit your needs. I also recommand to use Windowed mode for this tutorial because to show the use of commands, we use MessageRequester from PureBasic and the windowed mode is the best one to make them displayed properly.3.1. Create a command that needs no parameter.
Your command will be really simple. It will be defined like this:
ProcedureCDLL SimpleProcedure() MessageRequester( "Simple Requester" , "TEST" ) EndProcedure ;
It needs no parameter and does not send back any parameters either. Now that your simple procedure is created, compile your program (create exe). Open Resource Hacker and open your DLL with it. Add a new string table ( You can add the string table given with the tutorial (Download: Resource1.res). You'll get something like this:
Your DLL's string table will always look like this one. To create a simple command that need no parameter and that send back no parameter, you'll have this:
command_number, "your DarkBasic Professional command name%0%yourdllprocedure%"
Its quite simple, if we follow this we'll have:
Your command will be simple enough. It will be defined like this one:
ProcedureCDLL SimpleIntegerAsking( mydata.l ) MessageRequester( "Simple Requester" , Str( mydata ) ) EndProcedure ;
As you can see, we ask for an integer value called <mydata>. To be sure we receive the data correctly, we'll show it in the requester. Now that your second procedure is created, compile your program to update the DLL. Ppen Resource Hacker and open your DLL with it. We'll now add String table for the second command. You'll get something like this:
As you can see we defined the second command like this:
Simple Command Asking 512
Don't forget to copy your updated DLL in Compiler\plugins-user folder before you try it.3.3 Create a command that need a FLOAT as parameter
Your command will be like the other one, but with small change. It will be defined like this one:
ProcedureCDLL SimpleFloatAsking( mydata.l ) myfloat.f = PeekF( @mydata ) MessageRequester( "Simple Requester" , StrF( myfloat ) ) EndProcedure ;
As you can see, we ask for an integer value called <mydata>. DarkBasic Professional does not send directly float. It send a DWord that we must cast to float using myfloat.f = PeekF( @mydata ). Now that your third procedure is created, compile your program to update the DLL. Open Resource Hacker and open your DLL with it. We'll now add String table for the second command. You'll get something like this:
this is the third command and, as you can see, we use "F" instead of "0" or "L". It's simply to tell to DarkBasic Professional that we ask for a float number. Copy your new DLL to Compiler\Plugins-user and then try this in DarkBasic Professional:
Simple Command Asking 1024.5123.4 Create a command that need a STRING as parameter
It's a bit complex to ask for a string. It use the same scheme as 3.3, asking for a Long that is the pointer to the string and taking it in a variable. It will be defined like this one:
ProcedureCDLL SimpleStringAsking( title.l ) mystring.s = PeekS( title ); MessageRequester( "Simple Requester" , mystring ) EndProcedure
We put the content at *title inside <mystring>. Now, in the string table, we must define our new command as follows:
Like the other commands, we put command_number, "command name%S%dllprocedure%" but we replaced the "0" , "L" , "F" with "S" to tell to DarkBasic Professional that we want a STRING for our command. Compile your new DLL, put in the new String Table with Resource Hacker and copy it to Compiler\Plugins-use. Try your new command into DarkBasic Professional:
Simple Command Asking "Test String"3.5 Conclusions
You can mix all kind of parameters. For example, if you want to create a command that ask for an INTEGER a FLOAT and a STRING, you can do this:
ProcedureCDLL MixAll3Datas( title.l , myinteger.l , myflt.l ) mystring.s = PeekS( title ); myfloat.f = PeekF( @myflt ) MessageRequester( mystring , "Integer : "+Str(myinteger)+" / Float : "+StrF(myfloat) ) EndProcedure
Building a command like this one will require to tell to DarkBasic Professional each parameter we want and, in order we need a string ( S ), an integer ( L ) and a float number ( F ) so the string table will use this to define our command:
We can ask for many integers, floats and strings in one single command.
In the next issue of the Newsletter we will show you exactly how to create a DarkBASIC Professional function that sends back integers, floats and strings.
|For PureBasic information: http://www.purebasic.com|
|Your 2D Game Command Suggestions Wanted|
We are keen to get your feedback and, more importantly, your suggestions about the following. If TGC were to create a 2D Enhancement Pack (and utilities) what would you like to see it capable of doing? For a start we will implement much needed fixes such as pixel perfect collision on all forms of 2D as part of a free Upgrade, but beyond that what commands would you find useful? How about a 2D Map / Tile Editor and associated commands? (map / tile collision, sprite gravity / functions such as jumping), full-screen scrolling, starfields, sprite scaling with collision that scaled too, etc. Put your thinking caps on and please post your ideas in our DBPro Forum, you'll see the thread we've created for this - it's called "TGC 2D Pack Ideas".
|For more information visit: http://forum.thegamecreators.com|
|From the Forums|
We recently moved our forums to a brand new dedicated server. The extra processing power and bandwidth has increased the forum speed for nearly all European users and also allowed us to be a bit more flexible with regard to the server. This means we will start allowing forum file attachments shortly. As always though our community forums is proving to be an interesting place to hang out! Here is a short summary of very interesting threads that you may wish to take a look at and perhaps participate in?
Bitmap Font Editor - Zawran announced a new program he had been working on which is a Bitmap Font Editor. It can read in TTF files and with art package style commands you can convert them into stylish bitmap fonts (similar to those seen back in the console / 16-bit days). There is a download and feedback is welcome.
Newton's Cradle Simulation - Ric has released the source code (in the forum thread) to his Newtons Cradle program. It's a realistic computer simulation of the desktop-toy classic and is timer based with real life values of gravity, time and length.
Deimos zlib Archive - Siege1975 has produced a DarkBASIC Professional DLL that allows for compression and de-compression of files in real-time fro within DarkBASIC Professional. One potential use being for unpacking resources or media before use. There's a free download and more info in the thread.
.symbiose demo - The German Sync On 2004 DarkBASIC Convention has an annual demo contest and this is an entry from Dragonfly. His demo requires a graphics card with shader support, but features some lovely object effects and animation. Download for yourself and check it out!
Lemmings - Ok, legal issues aside - this is an absolutely superb looking Lemmings remake! Avan Madisen has posted shots and downloads in this forum thread where you can track the development of the game and post your own comments. Personally I really hope this gets finished (especially with a level editor) because Lemmings just rocks :)
TCA Plugin Source - Prolific coder TCA has released the C++ source code (including make files) to some of his older plug-ins, including the full source to the commercial version of his BASS and FMOD plugins. Well worth checking out if you're a C++ coder looking to enhance on them (or just learn more).
Dark Fighter - Mir has released a Street Fighter inspired beat-em-up called Dark Fighter. It's a really good game with large fluid sprites and fun gameplay. Please note if your PC isn't too hot spec-wise, give it a miss, but otherwise it's worth playing and we look forward to Dark Fighter 2.
|Visit our forums: http://forum.thegamecreators.com|
|This months winner|
We've plucked one lucky subscriber to our newsletter and for you a completely free copy of DarkBASIC Professional is yours for the asking. The winner is marvkin@???????.com - just email us and a free copy of DarkBASIC Professional is yours.
|For more information visit: //www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2000|
It's good to see the "work in progress" threads appearing in the forums regarding the 2004 competition - there are already some hot looking titles! But you've still got PLENTY of time to enter, so check out the rules, jot down some ideas for your game and get building! You have a VERY good chance of winning a prize this year, don't let is pass you by :)
|Contact us: //www.thegamecreators.com/|
Famous Last Words: "I stab the dragon and tell it to get off me."
(C) Copyright The Game Creators Limited 2004