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.

The Wait is Over!

Okay, so I got things up and running faster than I expected. Come on over and check my game out!

I would recommend reading the tips section as the game is a little tricky when you first start playing it.

Gamers, I'm happy to listen to all the feedback you have about the game.

Developers, if you have any questions about how I implemented a certain feature, feel free to ask and I will post a tutorial.

Both, let me know if you can't get the game to run on your computer.

Eventually, Microsoft will allow developers to upload their XNA-created games to the Xbox Live Marketplace and you will be able to play the game on the 360 in all it's glory! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Welcome to My New Blog!

Good morning everyone! I've decided to create a little web space to talk about the video games I've been working on as a hobby. A few years ago, I took a games programming class at Texas Tech and created a few games using SDL and OpenGL. Ever since, I've been addicted to video game development. I started taking graduate classes at UNM last semester to possibly get my masters in Computer Science. My first class was Computer Graphics. Our final project was to create a game using XNA. It was suggested that we work in groups of three but since I already dabbled with the XNA framework before, I decided to go it alone. At the end of the semester, we had a video game competition where judges (developers from various video game companies) came down to judge our games. To my surprise, Missile Defender got first place!

At this point, some of you may wondering how good a game has to be to win first prize in a college graphics course. Well in my opinion, not that good =), but it doesn't matter because you'll be able to judge for yourselves. I will upload the game by the end of this week, and provide a small web page describing what it's about, how to play it, etc.