I know that we've all been enjoying this new year for several weeks now, but this is still the first newsletter for 2005 - so Happy New Year! While it's true that we were planning on having this issue focusing specifically on the launch of FPS Creator that simply wasn't possible due to the release date moving to February.
Development is moving along at a frantic pace here with the beta test group really getting into the swing of things. More optimisations and changes are taking place meaning that we will hopefully have the EA release for you next issue! Even so, we've got a lot of great FPS Creator content this issue as well as other goings-on within the wider TGC community. For those of you who are new here - the EA release of FPS Creator means "Early Adopter", a pre-release of the Version 1 that will ship several months later. It's a way to get your hands on the software ASAP and then upgrade to the full release without any additional expense.
If you only get time to try out one game this month - make sure it is mono. A truly psychedelic and frantic blaster created in DBPro and currently gaining massive (well deserved) praise on the forums. If you have time to try two games, make sure the other one is Duo v2 :)
|Omega Basic Released|
Omega Basic allows you to create and test games and applications for mobile phones, PDAs and smartphones on your Windows, Linux or Mac computer using the Omega Basic language or Java. Omega Basic is designed for new programmers and advance developers alike, featuring built in support for sprites, graphics, sounds, music, animation, video, network and multiplayer. The language uses the easy to use BASIC command set with a twist, the special commands makes it easier than ever to start programming great games! Omega Basic's intelligent build system also enables professional programmers to develop in Java using the Omega Basic extensive API set.
Omega Basic can create games and applications for any device supporting the Java (J2ME) logo. This includes Mobile Phones, Personal Digital Assistants and SmartPhones. There is a free trial version to download which includes all of the necessary Java SDK installation files to make the process as painless as possible. The only limitation on the trial is the length of program you can write.
You can buy Omega Basic from our on-line shop today for only $59.95 / &eur;45.99 / £32.99
|For more information visit: //www.thegamecreators.com/|
|gameSpace 1.6 released|
We reported last issue that gameSpace 1.6 was due out shortly and it appeared only a few days after the newsletter was published. To celebrate we have a special offer until the end of January 2005, save yourself $50 and buy the brand new 1.6 version for $249. After January the price will return to its usual $299. The 1.6 release contains some great new features: Easier and more powerful UV Editing tools, better X format import and export, improved support for Conitec 3D Game Studio format, and stability improvements to third party plug-in Puppeteer.
You can buy gameSpace 1.6 from our on-line shop today.
|For more information visit: //www.thegamecreators.com/|
He may be quite new to the TGC community, but programmer Santa2000 (aka Robert Smith) has written an extremely detailed and comprehensive tutorial on coding a Minesweeper game in DarkBASIC Professional. The tutorial is massive and covers everything from dissecting the original game to figure out how it works, to implementing a simple "array test" version to coding the whole game. You can work through the tutorial following the code and doing so will give those new to programming a fundamental insight into the planning and processes involved in creating a game - even one as "simple" on the outside as Minesweeper appears to be. Perhaps if more beginners read tutorials like this we'd see less of the "Join me to make a World of Warcraft beater!" in the forums :)
You can read the tutorial on Roberts web site where you'll also find source code examples for other games including Tron, LegoSlide, Tetris and the ubiquitous Pong. There is even a pack of royalty free game background images.
|For more information visit: http://www.atnasonline.com/|
|FPS Creator EA Beta Comments|
FPS Creator Release Details
We have also added some more features into FPS Creator which has already opened up new possibilities. For example trigger zones can now make other objects activate - you'd use this perhaps set off a trap when the player enters a dangerous area of your level. We also added in player check points - so after you create your game level, you can pick key areas where the player would be re-generated if he/she was killed. We have also added lots of extra key presses to make the level editing experience easier and more enjoyable.
The product will be a BROADBAND delivered title ONLY, as it's 400 Megs in size.
Anyone who purchases the EA version will automatically qualify for the full retail version when it is completed. There will be a shipping and packaging charge to pay, this will be announced when the weight of the retail version is known. The final version will also come with a printed manual.
Due to contractual agreements we cannot sell the EA version to anyone based in France. This is because we have an exclusive deal with Focus Marketing. French users must wait until Focus release the French version into the retail market.
Beta Group Opinions
"Where I think FPSC needs improvement is in terms of story-telling possibilities, the ability to display mission summaries or a secret map on screen or play a movie. The ability for users to vary the scenery and the characters more without having to resort to a full-blown modelling program would also be useful. The ability to spray dust, snow, or cracks and rubble onto segments for example, or to be able to select an individual segment and change its texture. The ability to scale segments to create more interesting architecture and get away from the 'blocky' look would also be welcome. I think a proper particle engine would also be a very welcome addition - the multiplayer won't work without some serious explosions, plasma bursts, smoke rising from guns and so on. Last but not least, any nifty additions for better gameplay the team can think of will be most welcome."
You can see a whole stack of screen shots and videos this very issue in the next article!
FPS Creator Forum
FPS Creator Announcement List
|For more information: www.fpscreator.com|
|FPS Creator Screen Shots|
The following screen shots were taken from a recent build of FPS Creator by Jason Dean. Here you can see the interface and resulting game from several angles with and without lightmapping enabled. Click on each screen shot for a large 1600x1200 pixel version.
A view of a level loaded into the editor with light placement.
You can see various lights located above the computer monitors, etc.
|For more information: www.fpscreator.com|
|FPS Creator Videos|
FPS Creator Beta Tester Robert Knight has produced no less than 7 videos showing FPS Creator in action. They include 4 videos from the end-result games and 3 videos showing the map building process. Each video is between 30 seconds and 2 minutes in length and all are under 2MB in size. You will require Windows Media Player 9 in order to watch them.
Click a link above to download and view the video. Many thanks to Robert for sharing them with the community.
Step by step Room Creation
|For more information: www.fpscreator.com|
|Media Copy v1.0|
Media copy is a new tool for Cartography Shop and DarkBASIC Professional users to help you transfer all dependent textures of a Cartography Shop map file into your projects Media folder. For only £7.95, you will receive free support and updates.
This tool will prove invaluable when dealing with large scale maps that require hundreds of textures to move into your Projects media folder. Using this tool, you can move necessary textures and then allow easy incorporation of embedded media into your DarkBASIC Professional .EXE.
|For more information visit: http://www.apexnow.co.uk|
Described as "Part Asteroids, Part Robotron and Part Paint Shop Pro" you are left wondering just what is in store when you start-up this sublime little shooter. From the instructions: "The aim of the game is to change the colour of the entire screen from black to white or white to black. This is achieved by shooting the alien blobs that colour the background when destroyed. There are 3 colours of blobs to shoot (red, green and blue) and the colour they leave behind changes the behaviour of any enemies that travel over it. A sort of "player controlled difficulty curve" where the more of the screen you colour, the more the enemies behaviour changes."
In reality what happens is the game starts with a nicely black screen (or white if you select that version, more later). Large "aliens" (coloured circles) float across the landscape. When you shoot them they leave a colour patch of nebula like gas on the background image and break into smaller shapes (ala Asteroids). These break down into yet smaller shapes when shot until they are tiny and die completely. When they get into the small stage they cause you problems! Collisions lose energy, when they go over certain colours in the background, they shoot at you and sometimes they just ram right into you for fun. The game starts out very quietly, the few circles there are posing little threat. Keep playing for just 5 minutes and you'll soon have a whole different matter on your hands as the screen is full of cycling colours, enemies and bullets. Oh the bullets! Various power-ups give you different waveforms on your bullets which swirl around you, rebounding off the edges of the screen and zapping the aliens in vibrant explosions.
This is one fun game and we strongly recommend you download it and give it a play. One hint - although it's harder on the eyes to start with starting with a white background actually makes it easier to play in our opinion. Because the aim is then to turn the screen black and it's towards the very end of the level that you have the most manic things going on on-screen, so the clearer your display is the better :)
|Download from: http://www.binaryzoo.com/games/mono/ (4.3 MB)|
|3D Planet Builder|
This is certainly a bit different from the usual programs we feature in the newsletter, but it was created with DarkBASIC Professional and we really had fun playing with it! 3D Planet Builder is the tool to build planets, asteroids and other space objects simply by the use of heightmaps and textures.
Import the 2D-heightmap of a planet and the program converts the 2D-heightmap into a real 3D-sphere! Finally put a texture on it and your planet is ready within 1 minute! Now you can save your planet in directX-format (*.x). You can use it to build planets with real surfaces to use in your games or simulations!
Full download and purchase details are available on the web site.
|For more information: http://www.3dplanetbuilder.com|
Some time ago DarkBASIC Professional developer Paul Harthen released a children's colouring book program called Colour Splash. It featured a fun and intuitive interface and the ability to colour in a variety of images. It's not often we see educational software in these pages, so we felt it worth mentioning that Paul has now released Colour Splash free of charge and you can download it from his web site (along with a few other graphical demos and pieces of music).
|For more information visit: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.harthen/pages/games/games.html|
|DarkBASIC Network X|
From TGC forum member 1tg46: "This is an ongoing project that I just started, and I need beta testers. Right now I have it so that DarkBASIC Network X will give you 77 commands that you can use as you please. The commands deal with Registry, IO, Dialogs, and much much more. And I am hoping to have even more commands after a while. I have noticed that lots of the commands may not work so please tell me if you find the ones that don't work. Information and documentation for the plugin are included in the zip file. Please report any problems to me."
|For more information visit: http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=45313&b=8|
|Games to Test|
We noticed a number of promising looking games that have been released in beta / test form recently. Why not give some of the following a try and see how they work for you and perhaps send the author some feedback?
Dumbo & CoolThe original Dumbo and Cool appeared many years ago on the DarkBASIC Archive CD and they'v been bought back to life in their own puzzle style game. You get to play as either of the colourful characters, collecting coins, avoiding enemies, solving puzzles and generally having a blast. Try out the alpha release and leave your feedback in the forum thread.
Time ShipThis is actually from the same developer as Dumbo & Cool above - the highly prolific (and talented) Drew Cameron. "Ahoy matey! 9 levels of treasure collecting, cannon blasting missile launching madness await! Explore 3 exciting worlds, collecting treasure and defying the perils of the sea along the way! A 3D pirate ship game, featuring 6 levels and 3 stageboss battles, 2 weapon types, 30 gameplay obstacles and joypad support!"
Gina's GemsGina's Gems is a 2D game programed in DarkBASIC Classic. The main idea is to get the goal bar down before your time runs out. When the goal bar is completely down, you move on to the next level. To score points and to get the goal bar down you need to get three or more matching gems in a row horizontally. To do this you have to swap gems by using the mouse. If you get a high enough score, then you'll get to be on the highscore list.
Marble RunIt is something of a mix between Marble Madness and Trailblazer, the run of a marble through a straight path of static and moving obstacles, teleports and speed-ups.
|For more information: //www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2000|
|From the Forums|
As always 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?
Jelly Morph - A nice DBPro graphical demo effect from Ric.
FPS with Newton Physics - Physics coder made this after playing around with walabers fps demo. He added sound effects, a 3 storey room to run around in, shootable boxes, cylinders, etc.
Matrixy Graphical Effect - From NathF: "This is a sorta graphics demo I made in the last half hour, using circles and lines instead of clearing the screen to make a nice effect. The mouse emits a shadow from the screen center. If you point near the middle of the screen, the screen will be cleared normally. Also, by pressing the left mouse button you turn on a falling character thing like in the matrix."
Free Textures - There appears to be a continuing trend of giving away free textures at the moment and this is no exception. 25 Free Textures + 300 Textures Pack.
DeleD 0.90 - A bit old this one (sorry guys!) but even so worth looking at. DeleD 0.90 has been released, This
version contains lightmapping, a more flexible plugin-system and has new levels, prefabs and textures.
EZ_Serv 1.1 - We reported on EZ_Serv in depth last issue, but this forum thread announces the release of the 1.1 Upgrade and details about what it offers.
3D Pixel Effect - The last of the graphical code snippets for this month - but a very nice one to end on. Make night-vision effects (albeit slow ones), etc.
Cartography Shop IRC Channel - A new IRC channel has been created specifically for Cartography Shop users.
|Visit our forums: http://forum.thegamecreators.com|
|This months winner|
Each month we award on lucky newsletter subscriber a free copy of DarkBASIC Professional. The winner this month is: dust????@divergent??????.com - just email us with your address details and DarkBASIC Professional will be in the post to you.
|For more information visit: //www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2000|
|Contact us: //www.thegamecreators.com/|
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(C) Copyright The Game Creators Limited 2005