Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Missile Defender is now being playtested!

I uploaded Missile Defender last night to XNA for some peer play testing. The first play tester found 3 code 4's (thankfully). And here I thought my game hardly needed any play testing! Anyways, see the latest video of MD below.

P.S. My "Real-Time Rendering" homework makes me want to cry :-(

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A gripe about XNA: Trail Modes

Since I got berated by a forum moderator for talking about this on the XNA forums, I'm going to a place where I'm allowed to speak my mind. Those of you that have released a game on XNA are well aware that we are forced to have a trial mode in our game. In other words, we can't give away our full game for free. I think this is totally okay, and understand why this is necessary. But on top that, our trial mode games automatically are forced to quit out and go to a purchase screen after 8 minutes of playing game. I feel that this time limit is restrictive for developers.

Why do XBLA games not have to deal with this restriction? Personally, I never decided that I wanted to purchase a game after only playing it for a few minutes. I need more time. I think Microsoft are shooting themselves in the foot, because there are gamers out that like me, absolutely despise timed demos. Nothing annoys me more than a pop up screen asking me to buy the game. If I want to buy a product, I go to you and buy it. If you try to force it on me, I see that as an act of desperation and that you possibly have doubt in your own product.

At least provide us with some options. Like if we have multiplayer and we limit that, or we limit some game modes, that should be more than enough for a good trial restriction. We need to have our trial modes approved by a real person anyways. Do we also need this automatic limitation too?

Let the Marketing Begin!

While I still have a few lines of code to write, a game mode to finish up, and some serious play testing to do, I feel like it's time to get Abaddon "out there." I have the domain for my website registered, hopefully something more than a splash screen will be there very soon. Most importantly I created a Youtube channel. I have some sample gameplay that I hope people will find interesting.

I also created a twitter account (did I just lose my dignity?) and a Facebook page.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Progress has been made...

So it turns out that even though UNM published my game, Missile Defender, I was informed that I had to take a full three credit class if I actually wanted it to be released to the public. It's obvious to me now that me and the other three developers are just being used as guinea pigs, which is pretty frustrating, but I guess they have to start somewhere. Anyways, this really put a number on me for the following reasons:

  • Can't work on Abaddon as much since I'm now taking 2 graduate level classes.
  • Won't see any direct benefit from the sales that Missile Defender brings.
  • Free time is one of those things that seem like a distant memory.
However, there are some bright sides to this situation. In all honesty, Missile Defender, kind of sucked, in my own opinion. The gameplay was slow. It was almost as if it was caught between trying to be a shooter and a tetris-like game. This class has given me the opportunity to significantly de-suckify Missile Defender. I've added new enemies that move in more interesting ways. You rarely see an enemy just sit still while you blow it of the sky (which all my enemies did before). There simply way more enemies on the screen, your weapons fire faster, and I changed the magnetic field to where you can actually repel the mines back to the enemies and destroy them. Most importantly, I added a two player mode that makes things much more interesting. There are bunch of other little details that I've changed that make the game much more fun, so I'm excited about that.

There is more good news. Both Abaddon and Missile Defender are nearing completion. I should be submitting Missile Defender to XNA's review process within a matter of a week or two. If all goes well, you should be able to download it from XBLA Indie Games by December. Abaddon is only a month behind where MD is at.

I'm learning so much about video game and graphics development this semester. The real-time rendering class at UNM is no joke, and I've learned some pretty advanced techniques such as bump-mapping, hardware accelerated particle systems, and depth peeling. I'm soon going to be spending less time developing and more time marketing. So I should be posting here more frequently.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stay Tuned...

I'm working on a new project. Got a guy from France doing my art, a guy from the UK doing my music. I have to say I'm pretty excited about it. It's called Abaddon. It's a top-down, true physics shooter, with RPG and Desktop Defense elements. It's almost ready to be shown to the public, and will hopefully be released by the end of this year. Check out my Youtube channel to see the prototype's beginnings, but keep in mind that this is just a prototype with place-holder graphics, and no sound.

In the meantime I would like to ask any Xbox 360 owners to check out the "Community Games" (soon to be called "Indie Games") section in their XBox live Marketplace. If you're tired of the same old FPS, RPG, etc that tries to meet the status quo, a lot of these games will be quite refreshing! =)

One last thing: If anyone has any technical questions about how I programmed certain elements in the game, like the graphics or the AI, I will be happy to answer in full detail!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What I'm Playing

I've been in search of a new non-WoW MMO for quite a while now. While I think WoW is great, I can easily predict the future if I started playing again: I have fun for a while, play for about a month, and then quit due to the boredom of grind. So I wanted to find MMO that had gameplay borrowed from other genre's such as RTS's or FPS's. I'm still not sick of Starcraft or Counter-Strike because it's always fun challenge to improve your skill to beat great players. With RPG's your skill mainly based on your stats, and knowledge of the game, which is pretty boring to me. So what MMO's are out there that might have some different elements aside from the standard RPG?

In 2001, Shattered Galaxies was released. It had dated 2D graphics but it was still a blast. You had control of 6-12 units and you would fight to gain territory for your faction. You could join RTS-like battles of up to 30-40 commanders who each controlled a set of units. There are so many different types of units and they did a decent job of balancing things. Alas, I still eventually got bored due to grinding.

I also tried PlanetSide. An MMO mixed with my favorite genre: FPS. This game had so much promise to me. You could hop in all sorts of vehicles: aircraft, tanks, mechs. There was a quite of bit of weapons and armor your character could use as well. Unfortunately, I just did not have fun playing the game. Partly because it was laggy, partly maybe because I kind of sucked and died all the time, and the strategy for a race to win a large battle usually involved boring tactics.

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a game called AirRivals, which was an MMO that had Starfox-like mechanics for combat. The first several missions were pretty boring, and the dumb AI mobs never fought back. But I played until I got to about level 20, then things started getting interesting. Some of mobs started to aggro me when I got close and some of them flew in formations. I found myself having to barrel roll left and right to dodge all the missiles coming at me. Furthermore, I finally got a chance to PVP. Very fun. The graphics in the game are pretty decent. Since I'm working on Missile Defender 2, I'm using this game for ideas on what kind of special effects I want to put in the new version.

I would recommend checking out all the games I mentioned if you're bored. You can play SG and AirRivals for free, and Planetside has a free trial, I believe. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I love AirRivals right now, but judging from experience, I'll eventually get bored of it and move on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Few Updates and Minimum Requirements

I developed this game to work for both the PC and the 360. Since most people were going to be playing my game on the 360 I only put info on the 360 controls in my game. I changed the info to include PC controls as well. Also, if you would like to change the key mappings you can edit settings.xml and change the key that maps to a specific XBox control. For example if I wanted to change the key that pauses, I would change the key mapping for the start button:

Change this:


To this:


Now G pauses the game.

There are some gameplay options you can change as well in the settings.xml. I wouldn't recommend changing these as they have been tweaked for your optimum enjoyment.

Also, I added the ability to skip the intro screens by hitting escape. Having to wait 17 seconds everytime the game starts was the pain in the ass, especially for me.

Missile Defender 2?

If I generate enough interest I will maybe make a new version of Missile Defender. Here are some things I'm thinking of adding.

  • Two Player (Co-op and/or versues)
  • Ability to upload high-score to an online database
  • Unique enemy movements
  • More Levels
  • Networking for Two players
  • More powerups
Minimum Requirements

I'm not sure what the minimum requirements of my game is, but you do need a decent and recent video card. The computers at my lab (GeForce 5200) could not run them for !%$#. My old computer with a radeon 9800 could run it with a little bit of slow down. Anyways, if it's too slow, let me know what kind of computer you have. I may do some optimizing if I have time.