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NZ Story Remake Dev Post #1

Behold, the amazing random level generator! This will revolutionise the gaming industry and add incredible replay value!

Okay, yeah, it's pretty messed up. Basically, in absence of a level editor, the tiles are temporarily randomly placed (with no clever algorithm such as those in roguelikes or F-Zero X). It's just there so I can get the drawing and control routines started. The tiles are from Stephen, they're all hand-done though they very closely resemble the tiles from the original game. The 'Kiwi' sprite is ripped from the original game - just a place holder until we can get an original one in there. Stephen and Josh are working on the level editor front - I've left it to them to decide whether to use Mappy or Tilestudio to make the levels. The game is still in a very very very pre alpha state. I decided to switch from Blitz3D to BlitzMax since BlitzMax handles 2D drawing far better (Not to mention being able to port to Mac and Linux, so our commie wonderful friends using those two platforms will be able to play). Hopefully by the end of next week we'll have a basic, playable platform engine, though one still without enemies, bonuses or balloons.

NZ Story Remake Dev Post #0

The Retro Remakes competition 2008 has started, and there are some freaking fantastic prizes up for grabs (A gaming laptop! A Pandora portable console! Crap loads of indie games! 80s styled T-Shirts!). I, along with fellow members of AGW (If they're still interested!) will be working on a remake of Taito's classic arcade game "The New Zealand Story", except that unlike the uncanny original, it will be made by New Zealanders and bear a much stronger resemblance to our land. This is Dev Post #0 because I've done absolutely nothing on the project as of yet, no programming, no art, no screenshot. Tentatively, the game is being programmed in Blitz Basic 3D but it may be switched to a different language if necessary. Stay tuned.

Stalin's Dilemma

Recently I was asked about what strategy games I have enjoyed and I remembered playing this one in my High School years (During my very brief Socialist period, I blame reading Animal Farm).

Stalin's Dilemma is a turn-based economic strategy game. Beginning in the 1920s, you, as Joseph Stalin(!) have to lay out three five-year plans to turn around the backwards Soviet economy, end starvation, improve standard of living and resist the pending German invasion.

You have direct control over the various sectors of the Soviet economy. Agriculture is needed to keep your workers fed. Energy produces fuel for all the other sectors. Mining produces metal for Industry. Industry produces tractors, trucks, oil rigs, mining equipment, weapons, consumer goods and additional factories, though these can also be purchased with surplus food, fuel and metal through foreign exchange. Transport is needed to shift items between the sectors.  Finally, the military is needed to protect the USSR from Operation Barbarossa.

I'll note that even though the game may possibly be advocating planned economies, it does not advocate Stalinism. The very goal of the game is to do a better job then Stalin did, by turning the USSR into a superpower without the associated barbaric loss of life (The lack of a 'purge dissidents' button or a 'Gulag' sector are conspicuous by their absence).

Each game lasts for only three turns, making this the only historically based strategy game I know of that can easily be played through in a single coffee break. The game is free to download from The Home of the Underdogs. Anyone who has an interest in history, economics, politics, socialism or dictators should definitely spend a few minutes checking this one out.


Rock, Paper, Shotgun interviews Ragnar Tornquist

Rock, Paper, Shotgun did an interview with Ragnar Tornquist, the developer of adventure games 'The Longest Journey' and 'Dreamfall', about the games he developed as well as his storytelling techniques.

The Escapist on Sidhe Interactive

Shockingly, the Escapist is more then just Zero Punctuation. A few weeks ago they did an article on Sidhe Interactive, New Zealand's biggest gaming company (and probably the only ones to have released titles on XBox, Xbox360, PSP, Wii, PS2 and PS3).

Release of "Enemy"

Quick update, Kristie Addison has released the final version of "Enemy", the theme song for Derelict. It will eventually be available for purchase on both Amplifier and iTunes. You can have a listen to it here This version of the song will appear in the credits in a later version of Derelict, as well as Derelict's sequel, Desolate, and Derelict's prequel, at this point titled Operation Stormbreaker. Both will be available for download "When its done"


Game Dev's Block

Sorry for the lack of updates. I'll post some brief news about whats happening with my game development.

First of all, there is an updated version of Derelict out on the games page. This includes a bug-fixed version of the speedfix patch, and includes a cool new feature - autosaving. This still isn't the "definitive" Derelict though, in a fortnight to a month or so I will release yet another edition, this will include the Commercial release version of Derelict's theme song, "Enemy" (soon to be available for purchase on iTunes and Amplifier, congrats Kristie).

I may also update the levels and story as well. And of course, this will also include the level editor. At the start of this month I began work on Mobile Warfare, my idea for an ultra simple action game playable over the Internet. I didn't get that far before I started to lose motivation to work on it. Below is a screengrab I've released of a very very early test edition, which I thought looked pretty good, if a little "too realistic" for the type of game it was going to be.

Part of the reason why I lost motivation to work on it was because at the Auckland Game Works meetup this month, I was informed about yet another game development competition. This one is a "Demakes" competition, the idea of which is to remake a new game to look like it was developed for an older system (the example they gave was "Cogs of Conflict" for Atari 2600).

The first idea I got was Ultra Plumber Universe, a 2D sidescrolling remake of Super Mario Galaxy, and I had some good ideas how to make the game fun and interesting. Unfortunately I discovered that not only has someone else in the competition has got the same idea, but someone else has been remaking Super Mario Galaxy with SNES graphics and it looks damned good. Incidently, this is what my version looked like before I gave up on it:

After thinking about it some more I started working on a C64-like adaption of Duke Nukem 3D called Princess Plutonium 2D, with gameplay inspired by Metal Slug and Robocop but levels that look almost exactly like sidescrolling versions of the Duke3D shareware episodes, but even that project is going nowhere fast and time is rapidly running out for the competition.

So, yeah, I haven't really felt motivated to work away on games like I normally do. Its, strange, it feels like years since I last made so little progress working on game projects. I may just forget about this competition as well as mobile warfare until next month, when the Retro Remakes competition starts... stay tuned


New website!

I finally have a website to call my own. Nothing special at the moment. I originally installed Joomla to be a CMS for the site but decided it was too full of junk, so I installed Wordpress on it to just manage the blog and everything else is being hand coded. After I update the games pages i'm going to look at installing PHPBB as well so I can have an in-site forum. Stay tuned.


Should I enter the Retro Remakes 2008 competition?

I've decided that, out of my shortlist of game projects I posted earlier, Mobile Warfare is definitely the one I want to do first. Being a multiplayer project it wouldn't be the easiest game in the world to develop, but pulled off right it could be a great multiplayer experience that appeals to both casual and hardcore players alike.

BUT.. Retro Remakes have just announced their 2008 competition, starting 1st of September. And i'm tempted to enter it. I have a few ideas about what I might do as well. The C64 port of Thunderblade was one of my favourite games on that computer (as well as being based on one of my favourite movies..). My girlfriend is particularly partial to Wonderboy in Monster Land for Master System, and I also enjoyed that during my youth. Blue Max and LightForce were among my favourite shoot-em-ups on C64. I only ever played the C64 version, but I thought a remake of Led Storm would also be cool. I also briefly thought about doing The Last V8, but, you know, make it possible to play.

I'm still leaning towards getting to work on Mobile Warfare in a month or two, but I could always do that later. Should I forget about the competition and focus on my original projects, or should I have a go at bringing an old classic back to life?

Derelict news and speedfix

First of all, I have gotten a few reports that Derelict has been running extremely slow on some machines, including ones with powerful hardware. I've encountered that same problem myself when I got my new Crysis-capable laptop(!!) and so I have spent a bit of time working on a patch. So, yeah, sorry about that!

The updated exe can be downloaded from a temporary download location here. Just extract to the derelict folder and run it, it doesn't overwrite any of the existing files. If the game still runs slowly after trying the patch try dropping the target frame rate back to 30 in the options and restart the game. I will update the full Derelict download later when Iam satisfied that the patch doesn't introduce any new bugs.

Now, Derelict has its own Mobygames page! Special thanks to Guilherme Chirinea for summarizing the story, taking screengrabs and entering the credits. Though I've had a Mobygames profile for some years now this is the first time a game I made has listed on the site. I'm absolutely stoked. The page is here.

By extension it now has it's own forum too, which is also great.

In other news, Derelict has been listed on the blog as a 'freeware game pick' and got a positive write up. The permalink is here. Also the game got a mention on this site, which reminds me, I still need to sort out the level editor..