Some Programming Mumbo-Jumbo

I haven't really talked shop in awhile on this here ol'blogosphere so I figured now would be a good time to get out some thoughts.

A while back I mentioned this idea of a "generator" system that would create objects based on element names from an XML file. This system also allowed for "data inheritance" where elements could derive from one another. This worked in a few ways but the generator system required a lot of "workarounds" that I ultimately found more annoying then helpful. A lot of flexibility got lost trying to make a system that could cover all these basis of object generation. What I found was I lost a lot of special case control - and that is where the workarounds came into effect.

So I've decided to keep the data inheritance system (I found that VERY useful in proto-ing) but strip the object generator and replaced it with normal factories. This may require several factories for various object types (game entities, collision shapes, etc) but will let me do more special case stuff that I can later wrap up if I feel like it.

The (thats what I call) sticky situation is removing the generator system from the current code base. I've decided to do this slowly by replacing "components" of objects first (for example collision shape generation) with factories and slowly work my way up to the highest levels of object generator (the point where all the objects are spawned). I do know that I will need a generic factory object so maybe if I get a chance I can write one and test it out with collision shapes tonight. Packing/moving prep has been taking 1st priority for obvious reasons but I'd like to get some of this rolling since I hope to use some of this code base with friends on the side when I get to my new job.

L4D Update

So L4D just put out their promised update that now provides a streamlined user-created map service they dub as "add-on." One great aspect of this whole thing is a new system them created that allows modders to genereate 'VPK' files that mean insalling maps is as simple as double-clicking the VPK exe you get when you download the map. It will auto place the map and any needed files into the right directories. Apparently if you play on a server you don't have the map for, it will download for you and install. Bad-ass.

I've gone hunting and pulled a good thread with some maps on it

So dig in folks! I've already grabbed a few and gonna give em a try. Its great to see people trying new things with the game!

On Bioware and Mythic merger

This just made me giggle:

From a post on Kotaku

"What's next, Nintendo merges with Sega?

Activision merges with EA?


Killing Zombies

Seriously. L4D...bestest game everz.

Game Burst

Been playing some new games:

  • Prototype - pretty awesome. Devoid of a solid story to tie it all together (well at least one told in a decent manner) and for once a game where a good/bad choice would actually be cool (liberator vs monster). Amazing displays of destruction that you actually control.
  • Ghostbusters - only played the first hour or so. Level design is horrible. You can literally see the level "pathing" via oddly placed cars, etc. There so many obvious parts where you need to wait for triggers. Do I really need Dan Akroyd to open that door? The Ghost-catching part is very fun.
And one more note: L4D still tops my go to "stress reliever." Pop into survival with AI, blast until you can't blasts no more then leave. Good till the last drop.

More to come...Stay tuned...

I will give more info later but as of Thursday I started the process of accepting a new job in PA and quitting my current gig. While sad to leave my current gig's people (some of the nicest folk I've ever met) I am overly excited to announce that in 3 weeks I WILL BE LIVING WITH MY WIFE.

Soon we can bicker of everything known to human kind then end it with some snuggling and Simpsons.

And the cat is coming too.


I mentioned in my previous post something about a little game called Kings Bounty : The Legend. I enjoyed this game pretty much right off the bat and was hoping it would only get better. So far it has. KB is pretty much everything I liked when I first got into pc games and then into rpgs all rolled into one ball - and that ball is delicious. For CGW/GFW radio fans: "Its full of all that good stuff that was around before the internet."

Here is the breakdown of Kings Bounty: You create a hero (3 classes to choose from). The game consists of 2 modes: Adventure and Tactical. In Adventure mode, you move around a fantasy themed world by simple click and your hero will trot his horse over there. This part feels more like moving around an iconic-styled map vs some detailed real world. Everything is in kind of a "scaled-down amusment park" style. Not sure if that makes sense, so just go look up some pics. Anyhoos, from that map you will find several wandering monsters who you engage by simply running up to (or they will run up to you). That is where the game shifts into Tactical Mode which is made of a small sized hex-based map. Instead of your hero being on the field you are actually wielding units you've gathered from the many vendors across adventure mode. The enemy will have an army as well and you simply move your units around and do battle - turn-based style. Your hero's stats/gear will improve your units and you also dish out pretty powerful spells to alter the course of battle. Units are represented by "stacks" meaing its always on archer representing 30 archers - but like the adventure map, everything is done at an iconic scale - more like pretty chess pieces. When you finish with battles, you'll gain experience / loot which helps increase your characters abilties and field a bigger army. All classes can purchase abilties from 3 skill trees using a combination of 3 "rune" types (might/mind/magic). Each of the classes gains these runes in different amounts when they level but you will also find a lot in adventure mode.

The game sounds very simple and in fact it sort of is. Only after the first hour did I realize how much you need to think about your choices during battles. The game puts tons of abilties at your hand to beat enemies quickly but its up to you to unlock the strategies. With that in mind, it presents an incredibly deep and addictive combat system. The game has a pretty great balance to making you struggle then granting you that boost that gives you a bigger army or more powers and suddenly you are a god only to get so far and get knocked down again. That constant up and down is pretty classic stuff in terms of rpgs that are combat centric. Most games don't get it right which. I have no idea how you really are supposed to design a system that does that.

Anyhoos, back to the ball thing: Heroes of Might and Magic is probably the first tactical strategy game that I got into. This game pretty much gets the vibe of that game but makes it much faster paced. Battles rarely last longer then 10 minutes which makes them much easier to digest and encourages you to do "just one more."

I will say this: This game is NOT for everybody. If you have no interest in turn-based games...then don't apply but if you see anything I've posted hear that sounds appealing, grab it on steam for 30.

Oh and the game has some serious performance issues but its not enough to make you shut it off.

Oh Oh one last note: The effects in this game are some of the best I've seen. Great animations and use of particle effects. A little slow, but altogether very satisfying.

Beepity Boppity - I'm out!


If you have a PC and are even remotely into gaming, get Steam...install it....have it on..and add me as a friend: Bobbyphat.

I love steam so much. I think part of what is helping keep me sane while my wife is off achieving her dreams (wooot!) is getting games to dive into to keep my mind occupied between programming and staring into the abyss...just kidding.

Right now I'm into a game called King's Bounty: The Legend. Its a freaking cool rpg where you adventure, build an army, and enjoy tactical turn-based battles. The art style is great (super commercial high-fantasy). Its got a bit of this Warhammer feel (though the world is much more...light-hearted). I also like the turn-based battles that don't last f'ing forever. I only played it last night but I'm hoping it gets better. So far I'm digging it. Its a slow paced RPG with a pretty deep combat system. I'm taking my Mage Nagash (thats right I said it) and wanting to work his way to a insidious necromancer...oh why does that path ALWAYS appeal to me when it comes to fantasy games?