Updates for May 2017

Expanding I.R.I.S – DefOp

For the past week I have been working on bringing new updates for this game. Unfortunately, I coded the game in such a terrible way that it was impossible to add new things without revamping most of the original source code. The poor coding comes as a no surprise considering the game’s code was based on a top-down shooter prototype I made back in 2015. My philosophy at the time was “As long as it works … heck care”.

I spend the last couple of days cleaning and optimizing as much as I can but from the looks of it, it’s still going to take a while. I need to learn how to code in such a way that I can easily expand the game without breaking other parts. To do that, I will either play around with the codes for Ninjas Don’t Fall or start fresh with an entirely new game.

Ninjas Don’t Fall

The game at its current stage does feel kinda boring in my opinion. I do have a couple of ideas in mind on how to make the game a bit more challenging. Will get to that once I solve the problems mentioned above.

Futuristic 2D Sprite Kit

I recently released my very first sprite kit over at GameDevMarket, Itch.io and Scirra Market. It’s similar to the ones seen in I.R.I.S – DefOp but with more parts, including some that have not been used in the game. Do check it out if you are thinking of making 2D futuristic style games. By the way, more parts will be added soon to this kit. Been drafting quite a number of designs on paper.

More Sprites

There are plans on releasing new sprites in the coming future. Nothing is concrete at the moment but I’m leaning towards a pirate theme. Will see how it goes.

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Futuristic 2D Sprite Kit

I have recently released a sprite kit that allows you to create futuristic planes or ship, similar to the ones you see in my game DefOp. The kit contains multiple small parts, allowing you to mix and match to create awesome looking crafts. Suitable for top-down view games.

The Futuristic 2D Sprite Kit costs $5 and you can get them at the following sites:

If you have used these sprites in your games or projects, feel free to drop me an email over at developer [at] livingtheindie.com. Would love to see what you have done. Cheers!

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My First Impression of Unity Game Engine


For a long time I have always wanted to give Unity a try but somehow will end up putting my time elsewhere. With the release of I.R.I.S – DefOp and Ninjas Don’t Fall, I decided that now is the best time to dive in and give it a shot. I managed to complete two tutorials (both 2D games): a flappy bird clone and a top down space shooter.

From Corona to Unity

Transitioning from Corona SDK to Unity wasn’t easy for me. In Corona, pretty much everything is text based. There’s no UI (except for compiling) and any adjustments (from object position to sizes to color) are done using codes. The advantage of this is that, you only need to specify the stuff you need. For an example, if you don’t need to make any adjustments the object size, you can just leave the out the code that does the scaling. This in turn makes positioning objects a lot harder since you have to make a guess on the starting X and Y coordinates.

Having so used to everything being text only, it felt quite overwhelming to see Unity’s user interface at first. Just dragging an object into the Scene will display a whole list of options for you to adjust. So … many … things. Nevertheless, I pressed on with the tutorials.

My First Mistake

And that is to go with the top-down space shooter tutorial instead of the Flappy Bird clone. Now, I’m not saying that the shooter tutorial is bad by any means but the tutorial on flappy bird was by Unity themselves and they do a better job explaining the mechanics. The game’s scope is also much smaller making it easier for newcomers to grasp. By the time I completed the space shooter tutorial, I have pretty much forgotten the first half of it.

If you are starting out with Unity and plan to make 2D games, my advice is go with the Flappy Bird tutorial first.

My Quick Opinion of Unity

With two tutorials completed, I’m just barely scratching the surface of what Unity is capable of but all in all, I’m starting to get real fond of it. I like the fact that I am able to preview my game without having to compile it first. (Come to think of it, pretty much every other SDK allows you to do that except for Corona … hmmm). Being able to deploy to almost every platform (including the new Nintendo Switch) is a huge plus. This means that I will able to create HTML5 web games without having to use another SDK (currently I’m using Construct2). Unity also uses C# (C Sharp) which is a very popular programming language. Even if you are going to develop games with Unity, having knowledge of C# will definitely come in handy.

If I were to point out my one dislike about Unity, that would be the ‘complexity’ of the user interface. No doubt things will get easier as time passes but comparing Unity with Corona, Corona’s process in developing and compiling games is much simpler and straight forward. Corona is also much more resource friendly since it’s lightweight.

That’s about it for now. If you wish to try out the Unity tutorials mentioned above, just click on the respective links below. Happy coding!

Flappy Bird Tutorial
Top-Down Space Shooter

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Working on I.R.I.S – DefOp HTML5 Edition

With the release of I.R.I.S – DefOp version 1.0.3 on iOS, I was deciding on what to do next. The choice was either to work on a new game or create a web version of I.R.I.S. I chose the later because I wanted to take a break from programming and just focus on the design aspect.

Wait … making a game without programming you say? Is that even possible?

Short answer is yes. Back in 2013, I purchased a game making tool called Construct2. It allows you to create 2D games without any programming experience at all. What you do need is logic thinking; ‘what goes where’, ‘what happens if x is triggered’ and so on. I will talk more about Construct2 in my next blog post.

sample 'logic code' from I.R.I.S DefOp HTML5
sample ‘logic code’ from I.R.I.S DefOp HTML5

When it comes to making the HTML5 version, I didn’t want it to be just a straight up port of the mobile version. Having access to keyboard and mouse controls brings a whole new world to the table. No longer are you restricted to just touch controls. Having said that, I still want to keep the core gameplay of I.R.I.S intact while changing things up a little … whichhhhhh brings me to the idea of putting … turrets.

Whats better than having 1 turret? 2 turrets!

You see, in the mobile version of I.R.I.S, your main defensive weapons are the two beam gates located on each corner of the screen. Holding the L / R touch buttons will activate the beam, killing anything that collides with it. From here, you can probably see the limitations of this design concept. Yeap, all enemies will have to move past a certain area in order for the player to destroy them. I did manage to get creative with some of the enemies (the annoying Orange ship) but at the end, an object needs to move from point A to B, with B here being the secret lab.

With the addition of turrets, the game is no longer restricted to the original design concept. I can now create enemies that attacks from a distance away and their movement paths are much more open ended. I can even throw in boss battles now.

At the time of this post, the game is about 50% complete. I will post up an early build over at GameJolt soon so do hit that ‘Follow’ button to get notified. Oh, and if you haven’t register as a member at GameJolt, do sign up. It’s a cool place where you get to play both freeware and commercial games using either your browser or in downloadable format. See you there!

Edit: The game is available now.

Work In Progress. A lot of effects are still missing
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My Game, I.R.I.S – DefOp Has Launched On The AppStore

I’m happy announced that #ProjectBeamGate , now known as I.R.I.S – DefOp is now available on the App Store. It took me a lot longer than expected (considering my last post was back in May 2016) but a lot of extra time was spend tweaking the game and fixing bugs. Tons … of them. There were even some that only appeared after it was launched.

The game is free to download so do give it a try and let me know what you think. If you like it, please leave a rating on the stores. It will really help me out. Also, if you have any comments or suggestions, please leave a comment below or hit me up on twitter @dylestorm.

Cheers!

Oh and here’s the game trailer. Enjoy!

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Time To Talk Bout Project Beam Gates

ProjectBeamGate-Banner

It doesn’t take much to see that I’ve been neglecting my blog for quite some time, with the last post made back in April (and not game development related to boot). Unlike social media sites like Twitter or Facebook where you can easily popped in a quick thought or screenshot without spending too much time, making a blog post does take a bit more effort.

Today, I decided to gather any remaining strength I have from coding and talk about a new game I’m developing for iOS and Android codenamed Project Beam Gates (I haven’t finalize the game name yet). Before we get to the details, I would like to point out that the previous game I was working on (Project Wings) is currently on hold, at least until Project Beam Gate is completed. I didn’t like the way how the game is progressing and to be honest, the overall result would have been mediocre at best. Having said that, I did come out with some new interesting game mechanics for Project Wings. We shall see.

So what is Project Beam Gates? PBG is a game where you have to defend a secret arms lab from enemy invasion, using beam gates that somewhat look like a light saber. Successfully defend the lab for 5 days (stages) and you win.

Latest build of #ProjectBeamGate
Latest build of #ProjectBeamGate

If you think that this is a really simple game, I would have to say that you are absolutely …. RIGHT! The original plan was to create a single stage and then release it on the Appstore / Google Store within 2 weeks. As development progresses, I came to the decision to spread it out to 5 stages and include a simple background story explaining as to why the secret lab is being invaded. The main protagonist is a young woman called Erika, a character I’ve created during Project Wings development.

Sketches of Erika's  character
Sketches of Erika’s character

At the time of posting, the game is about 80% complete. Gameplay mechanics still needed some tweaks and there are still game graphics to finish. By right Project Beam Gates should be out by end of May. I have taken measures to ensure that I don’t repeat the mistakes I made with Project Wings.

If you wish to keep up to date on my game devs, be sure to follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page. I’m definitely a lot more active on Twitter.

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How I Started Off With Project Wings

I have to admit though, Project Wings (not the final name, I haven’t figure out one for it yet) wasn’t the game I had in mind when I started out my game development. It was actually the result of a chain reaction of me failing to follow through all my previous ideas. Originally, I wanted to create  a simple “shoot to defend” game, where the player will tap on screen to destroy objects while making sure the damsel in distress is safe from harm.

From a coding and graphics point of view, it was the perfect game idea to start off with, at least at the time. I didn’t have to create objects that requires a lot of animation and no complex coding to deal with. It was just simply “spawn object from top, make them fall. Player ‘fires’ on object, object get destroyed. If the damsel in distress gets hit by an object, reduce reduce score by X amount”. Sounds easy no?

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