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First AGW meeting for the year

The first meeting of Auckland Game Works is this Sunday, and I am hosting it! We'll meet up outside MAINZ at 150 Victoria St, Auckland at 12pm. This isn't the regular venue but the Media Design School, where we usually meet up, is closed for the year.

AGW is a group of avid gamers keen on collaborating on original game projects. We are mostly programmers however a few artists and audio engineers are part of the group as well. If you're interested in contributing to any part of the development cycle of a hobby game project, come along. More details are here


Derelict Dev Post #15

I guess this one is a bit overdue! Sorry

There have been a few things to report, though not as much as I wanted since I have been on Holiday. I have significantly revised the messaging system to resemble a chat screen (as shown in the screenshot), you can see the direction a marine is facing by looking at the map and I have started working on TCP/IP connectivity. Yes, that means Internet play.

However I have unfortunately hit a few snags with multiplayer - it is extremely complicated and my experience with programming multiplayer games has been limited to an online pong-like (even that ran into serious difficulties). I may have another go at it in a few weeks but for now I have other priorities to focus on.

First post of 2008

Happy belated new years all. I have just got back from holidays and since we're already six days into the year I decided that I had better roll out a blog update.

2008 will see a change in focus for the blog, updates will be almost entirely about gaming and game development. I will do posts and reviews about new and old games, as well as share my past experiences with game development (as a warning to new game developers about what can go wrong!). I will also try to commit myself to do at least 2-3 per week rather then the obligatory weekly "Derelict Dev Post", and this will include one off posts and ones that are part of a series.

Stay tuned for more updates. Same blog time, same blog channel.


Derelict Dev Post #14 - First public beta!

Something has wiped out the team, but what? If you look close enough at the image you might be able to see it..

Well, Merry Christmas everyone, and here's my present to you all. The very first public beta of Derelict. It includes five levels, including a boss one, and misc bug fixes and enhancements since the last alpha release. Note that there is still much to be done, but this is certainly a milestone. You can download it here (excuse the rapidshare rubbish - I haven't got a proper place to host it yet)


Derelict Dev Post #13

Alright, time for the obligatory Derelict update

In this screenshot here the slightly Giger-esque aliens have torn down a door and are advancing on our team...

Wait? They can tear down doors?

Yes, that's right. You're not safe anywhere in the game anymore. The aliens will mercilessly hunt you down and rip you to shreds. Other then that I have largely been focusing on fixing complaints about the last Derelict alpha - such as an improved tutorial system, more logical menus, easier aiming, the ability to destroy doors (IE, knock them down completely instead of just damage them) and the addition of 'survivors': marines found around the ship that can take the place of fallen comrades.

Regarding the semi-public Christmas release, it is nearly done except for the three extra levels that need to go into it (hint hint, Philip and Sam). Keep an eye out next week for it.


The Return of the King

It's only a teaser but, it looks great and it shows 3D Realms are actually doing -something- on it. If they ever release it it'll probably be enough reason for me to buy a machine that can play it (maybe a MacBook Pro "17.. mmmm...)

Anyway, Jet Set Willy Wednesday went pretty great yesterday. Got a few mates playing and a couple of new people joined as well. I can't remember how long it had been since I had a decent match going. See you all next week.


Derelict Dev Post #12

Boom, baby!

Explosives are in Derelict. They can be used for destroying blockades, damaging doors and killing monsters (and marines!). Also other bits and pieces are in, such as an incomplete menuing(!) system, and the ability to load and save. It's fair bit more complete the last weeks one was..

Anyway, i'm going to upload another copy of the game tonight for alpha testers and hopefully if I can get three more complete and playable levels before Christmas, i'll put out a public demo!

Derelict Dev Post #11

So whats new this week? Not much on the surface, but I have been adding a whole lot of smaller gameplay details into Derelict. Medics can heal, engineers can repair doors, demolitions can destroy objects (such as this vending machine used as a crude blockage) and so on.

Only two weeks until Christmas and i'm hoping to have a playable public demo out by then! Maybe..


Derelict Dev Post #10

And now for a very special episode of 'Derelict Dev Post'

I have reached a milestone. Derelict has now been in production for ten weeks. Ten weeks.. doesn't sound like very long does it? And yet that was the entire production length for last years 'Project Firestart' and so far its taken ten times as long to develop as 'Blow stuff up'.

So how is the game development going so far? Well, pretty damned good I think. I have had much more time to take proper care of it, rather then just get the damned thing out the door in time for the competition judging. The interface, lighting effects, graphics, AI and polish are all miles ahead of Firestart in my opinion. The notorious crashing bug that plagued Firestart is gone with the buggy bitmap font library that caused it.

A disproportionate amount of the work has been done in this last week - excited about the approaching anniversary I have sat down and furiously attacked bugs, polished the GUI, added a basic menu system, developed a short (yet completable) level, implemented enemy AI and the means for the marine AI to fight them and added working doors. Take a look at the screenshot to see how the game is looking so far:

The game obviously has a long way to go before it is completed however. I have only done a single draft version of a single level, there are only a handful of textures and only one type of enemy. It is somewhat daunting when I think about the 24 levels I intend to have in the final version! But there are a couple of people who are interested in giving me a hand, and if you'd like to as well just let me know.

Do I have a clue when it'll be finished? Not at all. However I will do enough work on it each week for a new blog post, and if it isn't totally finished by week 52 then i'll just publish it in its current state and leave it as it is.

The very first pre-alpha build, which includes the map maker, is complete. If I haven't sent you the link personally and you'd like to have a look, just get in touch.

Finally, I'll close this post by mentioning all of the people who have contributed towards Derelict so far. Thanks for all of the support and I look forward to seeing your future contributions.

Greg Thomas, for the cursor, bloodsplats, bitmap font and other bits and pieces
Mark Harper, for making the 3D guns
Samuel Gavin, for the creepy soundtrack

Derelict Dev Post #9

As I said before, now I am starting to develop the technical functionality. I have finally implemented pathfinding in Derelict so it is possible to command your troops to walk anywhere in the map. I have also expanded the GUI to include all of the squad icons, highlighting the currently selected soldier, and displaying health.

The screenshot above demonstrates that I have commanded the Heavy Assault trooper (icon highlighted) to walk to the other side of the small level, and that the Medic and Demolitions expert are both deceased.

In other news, a very scary mostly ambient soundtrack has been developed by Samuel, a fellow attendee of the Auckland game works meeting. You can listen to the track at the bottom of the page here. I feel that Samuel has done an excellent job with the sound track, especially its utter ambiguity so you don't have any idea what's actually going on around you! Is it an alien stalking you or just your paranoia? The heavy breathing in the soundtrack has also made me want to try and develop oxygen masks for the marines... the music is in the current build of the game as well as misc sound effects (gunfire, footsteps and screams mostly)

Stay tuned next week for the very special Derelict dev post 10#, which will contain a retrospective on the entire project thus far.