The Game Creators Newsletter Issue 32

Issue 32 cover - click for full version

Welcome to Issue 32 of The Game Creators newsletter. After you finish your college/University years and settle down, people don't tend to move house that often. Usually only doing so as a result of a life-style change (i.e. family / marriage) or a new job. Having just completed my own house move I can see why this isn't something you do that often! I was amazed at the amount of absolute junk I had collected over the years, and there was a very therapeutic feeling going through every last bag, box and container - chucking out/donating that which was no longer required, and revisiting some fond memories as I sifted through masses of old retro computing gear. As regular readers will know, I'm a bit of a retro fiend anyway - collecting gaming magazines from the 80s to 90s, but I found it more interesting to see old issues of PC magazines from the mid 1990s.

Windows 95 had just been unleashed on the world, and gaming from within Windows was really taking off. 3DFX ruled the roost and it was so unique for a game to utilise 3D that magazines would actually devote space specifically to "3D Games". Oh how times have changed! In what is only 10 years we've come a very long way indeed. As I sorted through old magazine CDs I just had to keep a few classics to test out - quality games such as Incoming, Battlezone, Terranova and Worms (before it went all 3D and confusing). A lot of people mourn the loss of "quality addictive" games, but really gamers today have never had it so good. My gaming hot pick for this month? That's an easy one: If you've got an intelligent bone in your body and love a good yarn, then I have to recommend to you Fahrenheit. Truly a masterpiece of story telling from David Crane. Ok so it doesn't feature massive guns, but it's a dramatic new game style and well worth playing.

So what else has been worth playing? Well according to you guys there are 10 quality Puzzle games here! Yes, we've got the Puzzle Competition winners listed. There's also an exclusive teaser trailer for the forthcoming Evochron Alliance, some games to test out, several quality DB Pro tutorials, FPS Creator news, Forum chatter, a superb demo: Revolution, and more. Not bad for a slow and quiet summer month, aye?

Contents

Editorial Puzzle Game Results PlayBasic 1.0888 FPS Creator News
Evochron Alliance PC Extreme - Farewell Slot It 3D Revolution Demo
DB Pro Tutorial - Memblocks Synergy IDE Update Snake Eggs 2D Omega Basic Update
IGF 2006 Games to Test DB Pro Tutorial - Breakout From the Forums
20-Liner - Meteor Swarm This months winner Outro  

Puzzle Game Competition Results

Puzzle Game Compo

The votes are in and we have the results from the Puzzle Game Competition to announce. But first I'd like to talk a little about the competition and the way it ran. This was the first competition where you, the community, got to vote for the winners. The TGC team votes carried no more importance than anyone else's - if you took the time to download and play a game (as many of you did) then your votes counted equally. The ability for the community to add their own comments on the games also gave the developers a great deal of feedback and encouragement, those I've spoken to found this helpful irrespective of the votes! Some great ideas came from these discussions, and hopefully we'll see some entries updated and re-released with new features.

The format of the competition was ultimately so successful that we will use a similar one for future competitions, and we'd like to thank everyone who took part - both authors and voters alike. Here are the results of the top 10 games, as voted for by you:

Piper
1st Place with 125 points.
Wins: A full copy of gameSpace + FPS Creator (Full release)
Towers
2nd Place with 57 points.
Wins: DarkBASIC Professional Extensions Pack
Alchemists Apprentice
3rd Place with 54 points.
Wins: Dark Game SDK Commercial Licence
Iro
4th Place with 44 points.
Wins: Vegetation Pack (TreeMagik + PlantLife)
Illogic
5th Place with 41 points.
Wins: Sound Essentials DVD's Vol 1, 2 and 3
Save Private Ant
Joint 6th Place with 31 points.
Wins: Trackmania Sunrise
MiR Ware
Joint 6th Place with 31 points.
Wins: Trackmania Sunrise
Connect More
7th Place with 24 points.
Wins: Ring Tone Maker + FPS Creator (Full release)
Icon Shuffle
Joint 8th Place with 20 points.
Wins: DarkMATTER 1, 2 and 3
Blocks
Joint 8th Place with 20 points.
Wins: DarkMATTER 1, 2 and 3

Would all winners please email us to collect your prize (rich@thegamecreators.com)

Congratulations to everyone who took part. Although there was a single run-away winner, the battle between the follow-up places was very hotly contested with just a handful of points making all the difference.

PlayBasic 1.088 and Beyond

Update 1.088 Released
Most of August has gone and here we are releasing another Play Basic update. v1.088 will be appearing on the TGC PlayBasic web site within the next few days. This update is the culmination of the previous three months work on sprite and world collision. As a reminder, some the latest additions are various regional and intersection features. Such as detecting ray intersections between sprites; finding the nearest impact points to sprites / collision worlds, and even features like determining which sprites are inside of polygon shapes. This update is not all about collision though, as we've introduced some direct memory access features.

Ray To Sprite Intersection

My motto is simple: 'you can never have too many intersection features!' and this is rapidly becoming one of my favorite PB assets. At first glance the RayHitSprite command sounds pretty straight forward. After all, it simply detects if a ray, cast from a point, hits a sprite. The sprite can be rotated / scaled, it doesn't matter, it will still accurately calculate the collision. What's interesting about this command is that not only can it detect if an intersection occurs, but it also returns the location and normal at the point of intersection. This has many uses, from calculating instant bullets, line of sight, blast points (particles) through to rebounding objects off sprites.

There is a Ray to Sprite Source Code Demo available to download which demonstrates this ability further. URL: http://www.underwaredesign.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=674

Sprites In Shape

Sometimes when you add features, you just have this feeling it'll be ignored or misunderstood by the users. SpritesInshape is one such feature. On the surface might appear to be just another general purpose intersection command. As it can detect collisions between a shape (which can be convex, concave and even complex) and sprites. The major difference is that this command automatically scans and returns a list of the sprites that have either intersected or are inside this polygon shape.

One use that comes to mind could be in a top / down platformer. What you do is cast rays at set intervals around your character. The points the rays impact the collision world are then used as the vertex in our polygon shape. If you think about it, this shape would actually represent a pretty good approximation of what area this character can see. Once the visibility shape is created you can use SpritesInShape to get a list of sprite this character can see.

Latest User Demos

Not only is PB development progressing at lightning speed, but PB users are also producing some great results in record time. Here are some of them:

Jack Steele and the Tower of Horror (developed for a 72 hour game creation compo!)
Steve's Sliding Platformer
Mythic Monster

What's coming in PlayBasic Update V1.09

Our next update will be something of turbo charger, while we'll continue to tweak and enhance what's already included, our main focus will be improving the raw horse-power of Play Basic. Not just the calculation performance (which we expect to at least double, probably more), but the language constructs in general. These improvements will cover many additions to types. While they're fairly flexible at the moment, we really need to expand them. So we'll see additions like Arrays in types and probably various controls for building typed lists. But we're still working out the details on those.

Play Basic is on sale now for $34.95 (€26.99, £18.99)

Web Site: //www.thegamecreators.com

FPS Creator News

It's finished!

After a massive amount of development, changes, tweaks, additions and discussion we've finally finished FPS Creator. As I type this thousands of CDs are being pressed and cases printed at the manufacturing plant. We expect to have the initial batches of stock within the next few weeks, in plenty of time for the official street date of September 22nd. Today (August 26th) saw the first specialist press advertisement run in MCV, a weekly magazine aimed at distributors and the retail sector, with consumer level advertising to follow in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.

But things don't stop here - while Version 1 may have hit master, there are already updates and enhancements planned, as well as the first Media Pack. With International distributors already established in France and the United States our work is far from finished, and now the burden transfers over from the development team to the sales and marketing team.

Version 1 Pricing Announcement
Although FPS Creator is a unique product in the marketplace, we're still competing with other software titles in the entertainment sector. To this end we have adjusted the pricing of FPS Creator to compete on the same level and place no boundaries between the product and the potential customers. FPS Creator will be the first TGC product priced according to territory rather than based on the exchange rate. As a UK company we naturally work in £ British Sterling £ and then traditionally base our foreign prices on the exchange rate. FPS Creator breaks this mould and will retail at a reduced rate in the US to fit in with the software market over there.

So what does this mean for EA users who have paid more for the EA version than we're going to be selling V1 for? We're going to offer the following incentives to all EA owners: You'll receive the Online Version 1 product completely free of charge. You'll also have access to the download in advance of the official street date, so you get to play with it first. There is an extremely discounted upgrade option if you'd like the boxed version. What's more, we're also talking internally about giving all EA users the first FPSC Media Pack either free of charge or significantly discounted, upon its release. This Media Pack will enhance your FPSC games with extra models, textures and entities. More details about this will follow shortly.

New FPSC Videos

We released two new videos onto the FPS Creator web site in August. One video demonstrates yet more physics in action, while the other (Ready to Rumble) shows some of the things possible you can now do when creating levels. Both videos can be streamed on-line (modem users can download WMV versions)

More details: //www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2001

Evochron Alliance - Exclusive Teaser Trailer

Evochron Alliance

SW3D Games recently dropped a fascinating video file into our inboxes here at TGC. The video was from their forthcoming on-line space sim Evochron Alliance, a sequel to the popular Evochron, originally covered back in issue 26. Here we present the video for you, although created while Evochron Alliance was still in alpha stage, and hence not showing any of the newly added features such as light-reactive cockpit glass frosting, an improved HUD and revised gauges, it still demonstrates the marked improvement over the original in terms of gameplay and features. All graphics in the trailer were captured directly from the DarkBASIC game, nothing was pre-rendered.

Evochron Alliance Video (6MB)

Evochron Alliance: Advanced Freeform 3D Space Combat and Mercenary Simulation

You've been thrown into a massive universe of exploration, combat, and trading. Your skills in combat and loyalties with other pilots have earned you a prestigious reputation. You're ability to build ships for specific purposes is well known. But a new threat is about to interrupt your successful career. The Alliance now finds itself weakened by the continuous attacks from Vonari forces. In order to protect Earth and the remaining Alliance territory, Evochron mercenaries are being asked to join in the fight. After struggling to achieve ultimate wealth, you now find yourself fighting for a far greater purpose.

Evochron Alliance is the sequel to Evochron - which introduced space-sim fans to a diverse universe of interactive real-time sci-fi gameplay with several new and unique elements. Set in a newly colonized area of space, Evochron Alliance continues where the original left off and adds an immersing story involving an elusive alien race known as the Vonari. As a freelance mercenary, you will soon be called upon to protect the Alliance territories and confront the Vonari where they live. The sequel includes many new features requested by the players, including revised graphics, shipyard construction system, hidden benefits, new weapons, new technology, custom mission designing, enhanced custom system designing, and more.

Evochron Alliance Main Features

  • True freeform gameplay without plot restrictions, conditions, or limitations. Experience ultimate gameplay freedom and play the game the way you want to.
  • All new dedicated interactive training mode to provide the necessary basics for survival.
  • Unified single player and multiplayer gameplay which lets you keep what you earn in both modes.
  • Enhanced 3D game engine with new effects, textures, and performance.
  • Dynamic economy with realistic variable item availability.
  • Use your wealth to build new ships, buy better weapons, install upgrades, load commodities, and more.
  • All new Shipyard lets you customize your ship for the role you want to play. Optimize your ship for defense, exploration, combat, or transporting... the choice is yours.
  • No restricted trade lanes or warp gates to hold you back. The game's universe is yours to explore with an open space navigation system and built-in jump drives.
  • Realistic zero gravity inertia based 'Newtonian' style flight model including complete 3-way rotation and 3-way direction control. An advanced inertial dampening system helps keep flight control simple in space, atmospheres, and gravity fields.
  • In-game real time control of buying and selling, no dropping to a non-interactive cut scene when docking. You are in control of your ship the entire time.
  • Realistic environment interaction. Nebula clouds, asteroid fields, planet atmospheres, moons, and more all provide unique options for shelter and combat strategy.
  • Quick one-key access to jump drive navigation and inventory management. You control all system travel and inventory decisions right from the cockpit.
  • Explore both charted and uncharted systems with several secret locations to discover. Create your own custom systems to further populate the Evochron universe.
  • Supports keyboard, mouse, and joystick flight control. Use the controls you prefer to play the game. Force feedback control is also supported.

This first person 3D Space Shooter and Mercenary Simulation supports from 1 to 16 players and runs on Windows based PCs.

More details: http://www.starwraith.com

Farewell PC Extreme

PC Extreme

We are sad to report that the PC Extreme magazine publisher, Live Publishing, has closed its doors. The July issue was the last to be published and as such we will no longer be featuring PCX articles in the newsletter. PC Extreme enjoyed a cult following, but dwindling magazine sales across the entire computing sector, and an increased number of people getting their tech news fix online contributed to its demise. We wish the PCX team all the best for the future and will sorely miss it, along with other Live Publishing titles such as Retro Gamer magazine.

Live Publishing: http://www.livepublishing.co.uk

Slot-It 3D

Although "Slot-It 3D" may sound like some kind of puzzle game, it's actually a DB Pro (+ Blue GUI) developed Windows application that allows keen Scalextric fans to create complete track layouts prior to building them for real. For those who have never heard of Scalextric before, it's a popular track building and car racing system, where you build your own circuits using various shaped track pieces (including cross-overs, corners, etc) and then race cars on them against other players. Sort of like a real-life Track Mania Sunrise! It's a very popular children's toy, but it's appeal lingers on into adult-hood.

The author Greg Bassett had this to say: "If you know nothing about Scalextric, the reason I created this app, is because all other track designers that are available are all only 2D, and mine is obviously 3D, plus scalextric have released a new digital track system allowing you to run up to 6 cars on one lane, and they have released special track sections to allow you to change lane. My program allows users to design layouts using these new track sections. I also still have a number of features to add, so lots of development still to come, but without Darkbasic Pro, I would never have developed this so quick, it took 6 months in my spare time, mainly evenings!"

You can download a demo from the web site below and it's certainly fascinating to see DarkBASIC Professional being used in this way!

Slot-It 3D: http://www.slotit3d.co.uk

Revolution - evolution act 2

Several years ago the demo group Purples Studios released the Evolution demo. This demo had been created with DarkBASIC Professional relatively soon after its release and showcased some gorgeous time / music syncing, 3D sequences, impressive graphics and a thumping soundtrack. Purples Studios are now back with Revolution. A follow-up demo created for the Euskal Encounter demo party in Spain.

Although a lot shorter than the original demo, Revolution is still a graphical tour-de-force with clever music syncing to effects, nice blending from 3D into 2D static images, and a great semi-orchestral soundtrack by Fx!. The theme appears to be the birth of a new life form - that born of man, woman and all things digital. This theme follows through right up to the angelic ending and the vocoder voice whispering "I don't want to die". Maybe a small tale of mortality can be found lurking in the swirling colours and blurring shader effects? The graphics were put together by Tracy and Animax (Mascal) and they fit the theme of the production perfectly.

The code is all by one person: IceVan. He's obviously jumped head-first into the shader world since his last release, and various new effects can be seem including: motion blurs, glows, fur shaders, soft bitmap scaling, smooth fading and plenty of pixel scattering, which gives a TV interference style effect to the whole scene. Don't expect to see these effects utilitised clearly and cleanly per scene, that isn't what a demo is about - it's about the culmination of everything that is happening at that moment in time.

This demo is not meant to be viewed as a technical shader showcase. Nor is it meant to be viewed as anything other than a fine example of the demo art form that it represents. If you just "don't get it", then that's ok - demos aren't for everyone. Some people may view it expecting a visual experience similar to the likes of 3D Mark, but they'd be mistaken. Equally those coming from the old school (where copper bars ruled, and reading a sine-waving scroll text didn't make your eyes bleed) may be slightly amused at the poetry between the effects. But no matter which way you look at it, this is a fine coding and graphical achievement for one person to have pulled off. To have done it entirely in DarkBASIC Professional, with such a combination of powerful effects and millisecond perfect synchronisation, just makes it all the more special.

Download: ftp://ftp.scene.org/pub/parties/2005/euskal13/demo/revolution_ps.zip

DB Pro Tutorial - Memblock Magic

For a long time, memblocks scared me. My background is in languages and platforms that take care of memory for you, and messing with it can bring down a server serving hundreds of clients, costing tens of thousands. Rest assured, memblocks are quite friendly beasts, and I have forged a good relationship with them. Memblocks are a safe and controlled way to manipulate data. They can be custom-made, of a specified size. Alternatively, you can create them from existing bitmaps, images, sounds and 3D object data. We will use images to understand how they work and what we can do with them. Manipulating a memblock containing image data can potentially be many times faster than using standard commands to create the same result. When you make a memblock from an image, it calculates the size automatically.

LOAD IMAGE "image1.jpg",1,1
MAKE MEMBLOCK FROM IMAGE 1,1

This example will load an image, and then create memblock 1 from the image data. The memblock is simply a block of bytes, but the format of the bytes is important:

Bytes 0 to 3 are the image width.
Bytes 4 to 7 are the image height.
Bytes 8 to 11 are the image depth.
Bytes 12 to the end are the image data, grouped into blocks of 4 bytes per pixel. The bytes are blue, green, red and the alpha channels.

We already have more information than we can retrieve through standard commands. The header section gives us the width, height and image depth. To extract this information, the byte information needs to be converted to readable values. The data is actually in double words, which are blocks of 4 bytes. Thus, we can extract the double words into integer variables:

MyWidth = MEMBLOCK DWORD(1,0)
MyHeight = MEMBLOCK DWORD(1,4)
MyDepth = MEMBLOCK DWORD(1,8)

Now we have everything we need to know about the image memblock to play. We could, for example, remove all blue from the image by setting every fourth byte to zero, starting at position 12. Another good use to put this technique to is making transitions from one screen to another. We can, in a loop, replace the screen line by line, with a new image. Here is a function that does just this:

There are a few points that need explanation in this code.

  • The function accepts a memblock as a parameter. This is the memblock containing the new image.
  • Variable sh,sw and sd are self-explanatory; they simply hold the details of the screen.
  • sb is the Bytes per screen line, which will be important in our calculations. With a screen width of 800 pixels, we have 800 x 4 bytes of data, or 3200 bytes. This, as explained earlier, is our 3 colour channels and 1 alpha channel.
  • The loop in the function scrolls down the screen lines one by one. For each loop, using an 800 x 600 screen as an example, we take 3200 bytes of data, and write it to the screen.
  • The screen itself is a block of memory, The format is laid out in the same way as an image memblock, excluding the first 12 bytes of header data. In the calculations, you will see that we use get pixels pointer() instead of get memblock ptr().
  • Once we have the necessary pointers, we can offset the position in memory, and write our new image data. The calculation looks ominous at first glance, but it really is as simple as converting an x/y coordinate into a position in the memblock.
  • We use a command called lock pixels. This is something that normally happens automatically to allow the program to modify the screen image, and it would in our code too. The problem, though, is that it would frantically lock and unlock the pixels every time we replaced a byte of data, which would cause an immense slow down. So we do it manually, and force the program to act more efficiently.

Here is another, more in depth example. This time, we are altering individual pixels one by one to create a grayscale image. This is where memblocks become a much better method of manipulation, because of the amount of work involved.

Download, review and run the code provided. It extends on the theory we have discussed here. There are extra functions and parameters to create ascending and descending transitions, screen-wipes from left to right and vice-versa, grayscale transitions, and a window blind effect, with a customisable number of blinds. It also adds additional functionality to deal with the way certain graphics cards deal with screen data, using Pixels Pitch to avoid any problems. While testing this demonstration, rates of up to 480 frames per second were recorded on a 1.7Ghz laptop! Until next time, happy coding!

Download this tutorial + code: DBPro_August_Tutorial.exe

Synergy IDE Update

A new beta of Synergy IDE is released today with some new innovative enhancements and a truck load of bug fixes.

The release mainly focuses on integrating the project with the respective compilers. We have opted for a visual studio type system, where you choose your project type, enter your project name and then program from there. This allows the IDE to know exactly what folder youÂ’re developing in, and so allows it to keep better track of your project. This feature also keeps your project folder tidy, as Synergy IDE uses a folder system to organise backups etc.

Over the last month we have been able to build up a number of partnerships with some respectable businesses. In return for non-intrusive advertising the development team has maintenance contracts on all components used. This means that Synergy IDE will always be up to date, using the latest technologies, and with unrivalled stability. One such partnership, which shows the innovation of Synergy IDE enabled us to implement program wide spell checking. Your comments, snippet titles, and even your project settings are spell checked to ensure that you and your team know exactly what you mean. If a team member does not natively speak English then comments can be difficult to decipher, but if they use Synergy IDE then you can be sure development can continue without delay.

Since the last newsletter, we have implements a highly specialised professional editor control. Going beyond simple syntax highlighting, the editor now has line change highlighting, comment spell checking, auto correction, intellisense and function folding. The new control has also provided the upgrade wizard and spell checking engine with a noticeable speed boost, project loading is also much faster.

There are a number of planned future enhancements that will be implemented over the next few weeks; keep an eye on the forums for more details. If you are interested in beta testing, and would like to know more please visit the web site.

A note from TGC: We notice a few people in the forum are getting upset that Synergy is going to cost money when finally released and "shouldn't they get it for free" / "why are TGC supporting it?". First of all we'd like to make one thing clear: Synergy is not, and will never be, the official replacement IDE for DarkBASIC Professional. That vacancy is still open. The reason for this is that it requires the .NET framework to be installed, any IDE that requires this cannot be the official IDE replacement. However, Synergy is shaping up to be a fine product in its own right. If you feel you've got an IDE that equals or betters this then get in touch with us. This isn't a single horse race by any stretch of the imagination, we here to offer our users choice and alternative IDEs form part of that.

More details: //www.thegamecreators.com

Snake Eggs 2D

We're always pleased to hear from developers using our products, and Leo Christopherson wrote to us about his new game: Snake Eggs 2D. He wrote the original version of Snake Eggs back in 1979 on a Radio Shack TRS-80 where it was fairly well received. This release is a brand new update created with the Dark Game SDK. It's a heavily modified version of Blackjack featuring cutely animated snakes - you vs. the dealer, hit or stand. Standard 21 rules, albeit with a reptilian twist.

The full source code is available to download (Microsoft C++ .NET 2003 Project format) and the web site even features pictures of the original BASIC/Z-80 code that ran the original.

More details: http://www.leochristopherson.com/snake_eggs_2d.htm

Omega Basic Update

Omega Basic is now updated and turbo charged. Four new enhancements ensure that your use of Omega Basic is now easier and more user friendly than ever:

  • Natively optimized and compiled compiler, builder and editor are now as fast as their C++ counter parts
  • Synergy IDE is 100% ready for Omega Basic development, communicating directly with the compiler and displaying all output. Program in style with function folding, spell check and many more features.
  • Omega Basic Professional automatically decrypts the extra professional files, no extra downloads required
  • New installer automatically ensures Omega Basic is setup and ready to go

Fixes include

  • Compiler enhancements fix bugs related to types, arrays and variables.
  • Editor now checks configuration file for problems

We have also improved our development area web site, with all support areas held in one fully manned place. A forum, help centre, FAQ page, trouble shooter and activation guide are all available to registered users.

Web Site: //www.thegamecreators.com

Independent Games Festival Announced

The CMP Game Group (producer of Game Developer magazine, Gamasutra.com, and the Game Developers Conference) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers. The IGF, now in its 8th year, has given away hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes and major recognition to innovative, independently created video games from all over the world, from early pioneering titles such as Tread Marks and Shattered Galaxy, through recent stand-outs such as Oasis, Alien Hominid, and Gish.

There are now three sections of the Independent Games Festival event, for which the prizes will be awarded at GDC 2006, held from March 20th-24th 2006 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California: the main IGF Competition itself, the IGF Student Showcase, and the IGF Mod Competition.

There are various categories including "the Grand Prize" ($20,000), "Innovation in Visual Art", "Best Web Browser Game" and more. Check out the web site for details.

More Details: http://www.igf.com

Games to Test

A handful of DB/DB Pro created games and programs for you to check out.

The 2D Shooter Game Creator

This program (created in DB Pro) allows you to make light-gun style shooters quickly and easily. Think Time Crisis / Operation Wolf. A complete level editor is included as well as a selection of media (although they do have a rather hand-drawn look to them). Download a demo game at the web site: http://redsparkstudios.co.uk

Soccer Extreme

You don't really see many football games created with DarkBASIC (or many languages for that matter). I guess because Pro Evo / Fifa have the market well dominated. But here Chase Billing presents us with Soccer Extreme. Only his second game released and it's certainly got a good range of features. With both one and two player modes, as well as a host of gameplay options, you'll always have a challenge as you attempt to defeat each mode. Menu interface is smooth and action-packed with a highly detailed club house where you can read the rules and change the options. Download from: http://roborangers.home.comcast.net/Trek.html

Slayer Battle Tanks

"Slayer: Battle Tanks was created and programmed by Rhett Lowder of Rhett Games. This great arcade-style game is a really great game to play with family and friends! In the 2 player vs. mode, you can go head to head in an all-out brawl, or you can do a variety of different and fun scenarios. Like Capture the flag, or Defend the Base, Defend and Capture, and, of course, Shootout. You can go one player solo against a computer AI, or go with a friend." Download from: http://www.slayerbattletanks.tk

Got something you'd like mentioned in the newsletter? Then write to us!

DB Pro Tutorial - A Complete Breakout Game

He may have taken a month off last issue, but Mike S is back with a complete tutorial on creating a Breakout style game in DarkBASIC Professional. This is a complete tutorial - you'll get all of the code, all of the media and the entire tutorial in this one single issue of the newsletter, so there's no need to wait for Issue 33 just to be able to finish off the project.

The tutorial covers the following areas:

  • The game set-up - creating the structure and project settings)
  • The design - exactly how is the game going to work? Visualising and proto-typing
  • Writing the game - break down the code required
  • Further help and notes

Due to the size of the tutorial we cannot feature the entire thing inside the newsletter. Instead we've packaged it all up into a ZIP file for you. The file contains the full source code, all media and the complete tutorial in Microsoft Word, RTF and HTML formats. Well worth reading for any aspiring developer!

Download Tutorial: http://files.thegamecreators.com/newsletter/DBPro_Tutorial_August05_Breakout.zip (340Kb)

From the Forums

The forum server was moved to a new home this month. With only a few hours offline (plus a DNS propagation) the move went smoothly and our new host, based in Texas / USA has superb connectivity directly onto the Savvis Network. This means a much faster response time for the majority of forum users. As part of the move I also implemented gzip compression on the web server, which for browsers that support it (i.e. the vast majority) will reduce page download times dramatically. We've also increased the file attachment limit from 1MB to a massive 10MB. This should help those of you who don't have a web host (a service we're currently investigating). Anyway here is a selection of hot topics this month...

Make your own FPSC Signs
This tutorial covers how to take any picture off your PC and turn it into a sign which you can place within your FPS Creator maps. [ Read the Thread ]

Rocky - Dog bot AI
This is example DB code for a dog-like AI behavior. He learns to chase you, wander around, get bored, and knows when he's hungry, then eats from a tree (go figure!) [ Read the Thread ]

IonRay IDE
Every month seems to produce a new DB Pro IDE and IonRay is the latest contender. Obviously still a long way to go, but the screen shots look good and the themes support is a nice touch. [ Read the Thread ]

DarkBOXER
You need at least one joypad/joystick to use this game (and ideally a friend to battle against) but if you have that then give it a whirl. It's a full-on boxing simulator complete with round card girls, videos, knock-outs and more. [ Read the Thread ]

Jadis
Jadis is a piece of software created with DB Pro that allows you to make your own text adventure games. The full source code is included (in French), so if you've a yearning to create a text adventure style game of yesteryear then this may be worth looking at. [ Read the Thread ]

You can find our forums at: http://forum.thegamecreators.com

20-Liner - Meteor Swarm by Super Nova

Meteor Swarm

Meteor Swarm is a mix of the classic games Space Invaders and Asteroids. Shoot down incoming meteors from your base, which can move horizontally, but not vertically. The meteors break into smaller pieces when hit, which must in turn be disintegrated. The further you go in the game, the more pieces they break into. See what level you can get to before your base is destroyed! (Thanks to Ian for the review) The author of this 20-Liner has won any of the DB Pro expansion packs, just email us to claim your prize.

Download the 20-Line code from: http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=55704&b=11

This months winner

Each month we award one lucky subscriber a free copy of DarkBASIC Professional. The winner this month is: atari2trek@????????.net
Just email us with your address details and DarkBASIC Professional will be in the post to you.

Outro

Sorry if news has been a bit thin on the ground this issue, it's mostly due to the interruption faced with moving house cutting back on my news gathering time - that and a lull period during the summer time. Next month we'll have FPS Creator finished and knocking down the door as well as a host of other news, as we shift into the Autumn period.

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